Markets & Finance

On the Move: Alliance Boots, L'Oreal, MTU


Plus:Sanofi, Fraport, Altadis and other European companies making headlines Tuesday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

ALLIANCE BOOTS was up £0.32 to £10.29. The FT reported that the company was awaiting a second offer for it after rejecting the £10 a share bid from Stefano Pessina, its executive deputy chairman, and KKR as too low.

ANTOFAGASTA was down £0.01 to £4.74.The company posted fiscal pretax profit of US$2.859 billion, +86%; total DPS US$0.482, +119%, final DPS US$0.43, which comprises an ordinary DPS of US$0.05 plus a special DPS US$0.38. The company said it benefited from record copper prices in 2006.

HMV was down £0.21 to £1.32. The company said trading conditions have deteriorated further since January, particularly in overseas markets and at Waterstone's. It expects fiscal profits to be below the current range of market expectations.

France

LAGARDERE was down €1.76 to €57.24. The company posted fiscal 2006 net income of €291 million vs. €670 million in 2005; EBIT of €598 million vs. €920 million in 2005. Fiscal 2006 consolidated net sales were up 7.6% at €13.999 billion.

L'OREAL was up €0.39 to €78.57. JP Morgan upped its target to €90 from €85 and kept its overweight rating. The broker forecasted an acceleration in like-for-like sales in 2007, seeing further upside risks to the top line should the market prove more benign in western Europe, with further launches potentially adding more growth momentum.

SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY) was down €0.45 to €64.40. Indian pharma company Lupin has won approval from French authorities to market a generic version of the company's antibiotic Orelox when the company's patent expires in August 2007.

Germany

MTU was up €0.71 to €40.71. The company reported 2006 sales of €2.42 billion, a touch higher than expected, and EBITDA of €318.2 million, also marginally better than consensus expectations. The company expects revenues to rise by 8% and adjusted EBITDA by 15% this year. The company proposed a dividend payment of €0.82 per share for 2006, and plans to buy back up to 1 million treasury shares on the stock exchange over the next six months.

POSTBANK was down €0.25 to €60.95. CEO Wulf von Schimmelmann resigned and will be replaced by Wolfgang Klein on July 1.

FRAPORT was down €0.95 to €55.35. The company achieved new record traffic figures, with February passenger numbers across the board up 8.6% year-over-year.

Nordics

TELE2 was up SEK1.50 to SEK109.00. Exane upgraded the company to outperform vs. underperform and upped its target to SEK122 vs. SEK83. It expects the company to deliver a strong improvement in profitability and to benefit from the consolidation that the broker envisages in European telecom markets during 2007.

GROUP 4 SECURICOR was up DKK0.40 to DKK21.40. The company posted fiscal EBITA of £277 million, +10% in line with expected £278 million; turnover £4.353.6 billion, +8.4% in line with expected £4.419 billion; adjusted EPS 12.2p, +9% - just above expectations of 12.2p.

Spain

ALTADIS was up €0.84 to €38.68. Imperial Tobacco (ITY) is seeking a friendly merger with the company as a way of defending itself from a possible hostile bid from private equity firm KKR, according to La Vanguardia. However, Altadis released a statement saying such talk is groundless.

Italy

PIRELLI & C. was up €0.06 to €0.82. The company's board has given Chairman, Marco Tronchetti Provera, a mandate to explore all possible options regarding holding company Olimpia.

TELECOM ITALIA (TI) was up €0.03 to €2.15. Shares traded higher on reports that Russia's Sistema is in talks with the company. Exane downgraded the company to underperform and cut its target by 10% to €2.05.

Switzerland

SWISSCOM (SCM) was down CHF8.75 to CHF439.00. The company's 2006 net revenues came in flat year-over-year at CHF9.65 billion, with EBITDA at CHF3.79 billion, 9.2% below the 2005 figure.

Netherlands

HEINEKEN was down €0.30 to €36.95. The company has regained the production, marketing, distribution and sale of its subsidiary Amstel Brewery in South Africa and as a result terminated its contract with SABMiller. This decision followed an arbitration ruling by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in favor of Amstel.

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