Markets & Finance

On the Move: ABN Amro, L'Oreal, Tenaris


Plus: Total, Nokia, Iberia, and other European stocks making headlines Friday

UK

ELECTROCOMPONENTS was down £0.05 to £2.63... first quarter sales up 7%, upbeat on year - The company says first quarter sales have grown by around 7%, comprising 11% in International and 2% in the UK. Is confident that this will be another year of good progress.

France

L'OREAL was down €3.68 to €85.06... Profit taking after first half sales - first half sales amounted to €8.514 billion, up 9.4% year-over-year (7.7% like-for-like). second quarter sales were €4.246 billion, up 10.4% year-over-year (7.4% like-for-like) - a Reuters consensus looked for EUR 4.249 billion. Kepler notes Western Europe and North America are considered slightly below forecasts and does not rule out profit taking.

TOTAL (TOT) was up €0.67 to €63.05... Shtokman deal signed - The company CEO Christophe de Margerie has signed an agreement with Russia's Gazprom today confirming it as development partner in the Shtokman LNG project. the company will own 25% of the project. The agreement foresees both companies establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to organise the design, financing, construction and operation of the phase one infrastructure. The SPV will own this infrastructure for 25 years.

AXA (AXA) was up €0.60 to €32.64... Rumour of interest in MLP - According to Reuters, citing unspecified traders, renewed market talk has it that the company is interested in Germany's MLP.

SCHNEIDER was up €1.56 to €104.77... Citigroup upgrades to buy from neutral and raises target to €120 from €100 following recent weakness. The company says that over the last four weeks the the company share price has come under pressure and sharply underperformed the sector as high-end earnings forecasts have been reduced. Adds that sales growth of 13.7% in first quarter07 and broker's 12.5% forecast for first half07 indicate that fundamentals remain strong.

Germany

GPC BIOTECH was up €1.48 to €22.79... Goldman Sachs adds to conviction buy list and raises price target to €29 from €25 given the greater proximity of a major catalyst for the company than Renovo (ODAC meeting July 24).

MLP was up €0.82 to €16.00... Up on talk of AXA interest - According to Reuters, which cites unspecified traders, renewed market talk has it that French-based AXA is interested in the company

Italy

TENARIS was down €0.81 to €18.43... Credit Suisse downgrades to underperform from neutral. Lowers target to EUR 18.75 from €20. The company says the company is trading at a significant premium to the tubular goods sector and also to the steel sector. Highlights for weak earnings over the next couple of quarters, relatively expensive valuations and the recent strong share-price performance.

Netherlands

ABN AMRO (ABN) was up €0.52 to €35.85... Court rules in favor of the company - The Dutch Supreme Court rules in favor of the company and unfreezes the company 's sale of US unit LaSalle, according to Reuters. The company says court does not consider the sale of LaSalle as an anti-takeover measure.

Nordic

NOKIA (NOK) was up €0.20 to €21.76... ING ups tgt/Strategy Analytics sees 39% market share - ING lifts target to €20.50 vs €19.00, keeps hold. The broker notes Motorola has announced its third profit warning this year and argues the drop in units sold in second quarter07 confirms the company 's recent guidance upgrade that second quarter07 market share would increase. Also points out, Motorola is likely to struggle to recover but competitive pressures are likely to ensure that gains from Motorola's market share loss should be shared with the company 's competitors. Hold recommendation maintained. Researchers at Strategy Analytics forecast the company to have increased its market share in second quarter to 39%.

Spain

FCC was up €1.80 to €70.20... Abramovich wants Colonial's stake in the company - website - Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea FC, has made an offer to Luis Portillo, the chairman of Colonial, to buy that firm's 15% stake in the company , reports ElConfidencial.com. The company says the offer is for 'somewhat more than the price paid' which was €1.53 billion. Adds Mr. Portillo is not planning to accept the offer.

IBERIA was up €0.02 to €3.71... June load factor reaches 83.8% - The company delivers June load factor of 83.8%, up 2.8pp and a record for the month. The company says passenger traffic (RPK) rose 4.1% for the total network, or +12.8% for long haul. the company 's board said yesterday it has considered the indicative €3.60/share offer from the TPG consortium, which also includes British Airways. the company says it wants confidentiality agreements in place before opening its books to the consortium. Adds this does not mean that the company favors the price offered by TPG. The board says it has not authorised access to information regarded as sensitive.

Switzerland

BARRY CALLEBAUT was down CHF5.00 to CHF890.00... Enters Indian chocolate market - The company says it is to open a sales office in Mumbai in September and a Chocolate academy in Mumbai.

HOLCIM was down CHF0.70 to CHF136.10... Raises offer for St.Lawrence minority shares - The company says it is increasing its offer to minority shareholders of St. Lawrence Cement Group to CAD43.50 in cash per share. The total value of the revised offer is CAD681 million. In connection with the increase in the offer price, notes the offer has been extended to 5pm (Montreal time) on 30 July.


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