Markets & Finance

On the Move: LVMH, CapGemini, VW, GPC Biotech


European stocks in the news Friday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

UK

BG PLC - Up £0.16 to £7.85... 2Q earnings up 13%, CATS to hit 3Q output - Posts 2Q earnings £471m, +13%; operating profit of £747m, -1%; EPS 12.0p, +29%; interim DPS 3.60p, +20%; output 53.7mboe, -3%. Says damage to CATS pipeline will impact UK production in 3Q.

ALLIANCE & LEICESTER - Down £0.18 to £10.13... Expects growth to slow down in 2H Reports 1H core operating profit of £295m, +10%; u/l basic EPS 42.7p, +2%; u/l ROE tier 1 capital 20.4%; statutory PTP £290m, +13%; statutory EPS41.8p. Raises interim div to 18.8p, +7%. Expects the rate of growth in both the UK commercial lending and mortgage markets to slow during 2H following recent increases in the UK bank base rate. In the unsecured lending market, expects gross and net lending for the whole of 2007 to be lower than 2006.

France

LVMH - Up €0.80 to €81.05... 1H net profit up 2% - broker reaction - 1H net profit rises 2% to €834m, just shy of expectations. Organic growth is up 11%. Co. is upbeat about the rest of 2007. Goldman Sachs cuts target to €96 from €97, reflecting fx impact. Keeps buy. Japan Fashion & Leather Goods division rebounded from -1% in 4Q06 and -3% in 1Q07 to +7% in 2Q07. JP Morgan drops target to €100 from €102, also on fx. Keeps overweight and hails 'first class' organic growth. UBS trims target to €83 from €87, keeping neutral. Believes valuation premium 'is likely to erode' due to underperformance of key divisions.

CAPGEMINI - Down €1.66 to €49.84... Not in talks with Xansa/1H below expectations - Co. CEO Paul Hermelin says Co. is not in talks to acquire UK's Xansa but rather focuses on Kanbay integration, Bloomberg reports. Adds Co. won't consider takeovers for now. Xansa's shares jumped this morning on rumour having it that Co. was to bid for the UK company. Co. posts 1H07 sales of €4.4bn, +16%; a touch-below-consensus net profit of €168m vs €71m in 1H06. Says Co. received no approach from Infosys. CEO sees possible 'small, focused' acquisitions.

ATOS - Up €0.57 to €45.14... Siemens to bid for Co. at €3.9bn - press - Siemens is ready to launch a EUR3.9bn bid on Co., Capital.fr reports.

Germany

VW - Up €2.84 to €123.39... Brings forward PTP target as 1H earnings double - 1H operating profit before items at Co.'s core VW brand more than doubled to €981m, supported by cost cuts. Co. says it will meet its 2008 pretax profit target of €5.1bn a year earlier than planned.

INFINEON - Down €0.72 to €11.48... 3Q EBIT disappoints, but improvement flagged - Co. reported flat operating earnings of €13m, half of what consensus had in mind as charges came in higher than expected, at its core logic business for its fiscal 3Q, but forecasts a strong increase this quarter. Sales, excluding Qimonda, rose in line with expectations, up 3% y/y to €1.011bn.

GPC BIOTECH - Down €1.29 to €7.76... Investor sues / Broker action - An investor has filed a complaint against Co. in a district court in New York for allegedly violating securities laws by issuing false statements about the development of its key prostate cancer drug, Satraplatin. Robert Corwin is seeking class action status for the matter. On the broker front, Credit Suisse downgrades to neutral from outperform, cutting the target to €10 from €25.


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