Markets & Finance

On the Move: Iberia, Compass Group, Tiscali


Plus:Reed Elsevier, Salzgitter, Michelin and other European companies making headlines Friday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

COMPASS GROUP was up £0.05 to £3.14. The company said trading in the first 4 months of the year has been encouraging and was marginally ahead of expectations.

NEXT was up £0.32 to £20.88. Goldman upgraded the company to buy from neutral, and raised its target to £22.48 from £20.75. The broker expects an improvement in like-for-like sales and sees the company as a key beneficiary of a weaker US$.

France

L'OREAL was down €0.50 to €80.10. The company may use its 10% stake in Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) to finance a possible major purchase, the company's CEO Jean-Paul Agon told La Tribune. The company may seek acquisitions in the cosmetics industry.

MICHELIN was up €3.60 to €83.60. JP Morgan added the company to its analyst focus list and raised its target to €100 from €80.

Germany

SALZGITTER was down €3.29 to €101.89. The company confirmed that it is in preliminary talks with Algoma Steel about a possible acquisition.

AXEL SPRINGER was down €4.96 to €139.00. The company denied that its Russian unit is up for grabs - contrary to Russian newspaper Kommersant's report, which said that the company is in talks with several groups about such a sale.

THYSSEN KRUPP was down €0.01 to €39.29. The European Commission was expected to fine several major lift manufacturers next week for taking part in a price-fixing cartel.

Italy

TISCALI was up €0.06 to €2.72. The company announced pro-forma preliminary results for fiscal 2006: revenues of €678.5 million, up 28% year-over-year, with the UK subsidiary contributing about €445 million, up 37%.

Netherlands

REED ELSEVIER NV was down €0.11 to €14.40. Irish entrepreneur Barry O'Callaghan is considering an audacious £2 billion bid for the company's educational publishing business, the FT reported.

Nordics

MODERN TIMES GROUP was down SEK32.50 to SEK429.00. Fourth quarter sales came in at SEK2.918 billion vs. SEK2.984 billion forecast and EBIT comes in at SEK435 million vs. SEK453 million forecast.

Spain

BBVA was down €0.41 to €19.56. The company has agreed to buy US group Compass Bancshares for US$9.6 billion. The company said it will pay part in cash and part in shares, following a capital increase of 196 million new shares.

IBERIA was down €0.09 to €3.24. Morgan Stanley downgraded the company to underweight from equal weight and upped its target to € 2.44 from €2.00. Citigroup downgraded the company to sell from hold and increased its target to €2.90 from €2.35.

Switzerland

BARRY CALLEBAUT was up CHF66.50 to CHF855.00. The company is acquiring approx. 100,000 metric ton of production capacity from Nestle in Italy and France to capture growth opportunities in the fast-growing Med region.

KUDELSKI was up CHF0.80 to CHF47.90. The company reported 2006 net income of CHF138.5 million, better than expected, on annual revenues of CHF694.3 million.

Rocio Opazo-Aniotz, Claudia Perotti, Michael Sanderson, Emma Stevenson, Mariella Mongio, Pawan Girglani, Guarav Panchal, Julien Manrique, Isabell Witt, Sara Oscarsson, Ben Marino, John West

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