Markets & Finance

On the Move: Bayer, Casino, BT


Plus: Altadis, Vestas Wind, Fiat and other European companies making headlines Thursday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

IMPERIAL TOBACCO (ITY) was up £1.73 to £22.20. Altadis said it has received an approach from the company that could lead to an offer being made at €45/share.

BT GROUP (BT) was up £0.06 to £2.97. Sources reported renewed talk that private equity firms could be looking at a bid for the company.

PRUDENTIAL (PUK) was up £0.33 to £6.76. Goldman said headline numbers were above the consensus and news on the UK strategy was in-line with expectations and does not include any sale of the back book.

France

ATOS was up €9.95 to €49.50. The company denied a Dow Jones report stating that it has received an offer from Permira and Centaurus, at €58 per share for the company, though it admits to having been courted.

CASINO was up €7.82 to €73.62. The company posted fiscal 2006 net sales of €22.505 billion, +10.4%; EBITDA of €1.560 billion, +3.1%; net debt reduced to €4.390 billion vs. €5.444 billion in 2005.

NATIXIS was down €0.75 to €18.20. The company posted pretax profit of €2.995 billion, up 20% year-over-year; operating profit of €2.304 billion, up 27% year-over-year; and underlying net income, group share, of €2.158 billion, up 25%, though a shade down on consensus of €2.220 billion.

Germany

DEUTSCHE TELEKOM (DT) was up €0.21 to €12.39. Traders noted that at Germany's CeBIT, Russia's telecom's minister has reportedly said that Russia's Sistema is interested in taking over the company.

BAYER (BAY) was up €1.39 to €44.13. The company reported fourth quarter EBIT before special items of €622 million, up 12.5 year-over-year. Fourth quarter net income was at €311 million. Sales were in line with expectations at €7.97 billion, up 25%.

Italy

PIRELLI & C. was up €0.05 to €0.85. The company in a statement has announced that it will raise the price of its tires by 3%-7%, due to the rising costs in raw materials.

FIAT (FIA) was up €0.35 to €17.75. The company's European registration figures for the month of February were up by 6.5%, increasing its market share to 9.4%.

Netherlands

AHOLD was up €0.37 to €7.91. Belgian peer Delhaize would find the company more complementary as a merger partner without the company's US Foodservices unit, according to Delhaize CFO.

Nordics

VESTAS WIND was up DKK5.50 to DKK273.50. UBS lifted its target to DKK315 vs. DKK240, and kept its neutral rating.

BOLIDEN was up SEK5.50 to SEK143.50. Analysts were positive on the shares, noting strong metal prices, especially zinc driven by Chinese and Indian demand.

Spain

ALTADIS was up €6.51 to €45.40. The company said it has received an approach from Imperial Tobacco regarding a merger or bid that could lead to an offer being made at €45/share.

TELEFONICA (TEF) was up €0.34 to €15.54. The company has already received some 20 offers for O2's Airwave, reported La Gaceta.

Switzerland

PANALPINA was down CHF5.80 to CHF190.50. The company increased its 2006 net forwarding revenue by 11.3% to CHF7.735 billion and boosted net earnings by 52.5% to CHF184 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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