Markets & Finance

European Movers: Luxottica, Renault, Swiss Re


Plus more European stocks making headlines Tuesday

UK

NORTHERN ROCK was up £0.34 to £2.07... New guarantee arrangements agreed - the company says new guarantee arrangements have been agreed with HM Treasury. The guarantee arrangements previously announced to protect existing depositors of the company will be extended to cover all new retail deposits made after 19 September, the statement adds. Adds the arrangements will be complemented by additional facilities through BoE. The company says the arrangements will allow the company to continue to pursue full range of its strategic options. Adds that while discussions continue with selected parties, emphasises that there can be no certainty as to their outcome. Confirms has appointed Citi alongside Merrill Lynch to advise it on the range of options. Expects to incur additional non-recurring costs of £40 million to £50 million in the period to 31 December.

NORTHERN FOODS was down £0.02 to £1.02... first half trade in line, sees higher costs - the company says group trading performance in first half has continued in line with expectations. Adds underlying revenue increased by 2.6%. Expects material costs to be approximately 4% to 5% higher than the prior year, representing an annualised impact of approximately 8 to 10%. The company says has made good progress in recovering the commodity cost increases.

France

TF1 was up €2.42 to €21.38... Cheuvreux upgrades to outperform from underperform with €24.5 target. French culture minister Christine Albanel announced last night that there will be a new law establishing TV regulation introduced in 2008, reports Les Echos. The paper suggests that the 49% limit on shareholdings in terrestrial TV stations could well be abolished in order for French companies to become media champions. Broker says programs investments obligations and advertising ceilings will also be changed. Believes it will be the opportunity of a major change for French TV broadcasters.

RENAULT was up €2.40 to €113.44... SocGen adds to Premium List and raises target to €135 from €130 in view of robust growth expected at least out to 2010. The broker expects positive newsflow on volumes and margins. Keeps buy.

Germany

KLOECKNER was down €9.18 to €39.80... Slumps after profit warning - the company says it won't meet its EBITDA forecast for 2007. It will undercut the previous year's figure of €395 million by some 10%, because of lower stainless steel prices. On the broker front, Deutsche downgrades to hold from buy, cutting the target to €47 from €64.

KUKA was up €0.66 to €30.10... Rumor of placement of 1.128 million shares at €26-26.45 apiece.

Italy

LUXOTTICA was up €1.27 to €25.98... Citigroup initiates coverage with buy and €30.50 target. Thinks the company will sustain its dominant position through a combination of 1) dominant house brands portfolio; 2) winning retail integration strategy; and 3) early expansion into emerging markets.

UNIPOL was up €0.05 to €2.61... JP Morgan initiates with overweight and €3.30 target. Notes the company targets a banking deal by end-fiscal 2007 or to return €1.8 billion in surplus capital. Calculates stand-alone value of EUR 2.80/sh; €1 billion buyback for value of €3.50/sh; or nil premium merger (commonly spoken of with BPM) post buyback for value of €3.30/sh.

Netherlands

HAGEMEYER was up €0.56 to €4.72... Rexel weighs options - Sonepar wants to make an offer for the company at €4.25 per share. Sonepar says has already secured underwriting by reputable banks. Following the news, Rexel has said it is looking into all options. The brokers do not see a competing bid arising from the likes of Rexel.

Nordics

TGS NOPEC was down NOK13.70 to NOK94.80... third quarter revenues short of managements expectations - the company 's management says third quarter revenues will fall short of its expectations due to productivity issues on the two newly delivered 3D vessels as well as difficulties in closing new Gulf of Mexico multi-client late sales commitments at the end of the quarter. Full third quarter earnings release is scheduled for 25 October.

STEPSTONE was up NOK2.00 to NOK25.00... Guides for record third quarter results - the company says it is set for record third quarter results as it points out it has experienced strong business growth and momentum with both Online and Solutions as the units continue to gain market share and new customers. Sees revenues at €25-25.4 million and adjusted EBITDA at EUR 4.3-4.5 million.

DNB NOR was up NOK2.00 to NOK84.60... Raises profit target to NOK20 billion in 2010 - At the company 's CMD today, it announced 2008-10 ROE targets above 16% and annual PTOP before write downs at 10% and said it aims to achieve a cost- to-income ratio under 46% by 2010. the company also said it will cut cost by NOK1 billion per year by 2010, raising profit target to NOK20 billion by 2010 vs NOK14.1 billion in 2006. Furthermore the company says it will start a non-life insurance company by 2008, and that it will open three offices; in Chile, Greece and India.

Spain

IBERDROLA was up €0.30 to €10.81... Renewables unit valued at €25 billion - press - the company values its renewables unit at €25 billion ahead of the upcoming IPO, Expansion reports. The company says this is ahead of analysts' initial estimates. the company has formed an alliance with Norway to import gas, reports La Gaceta. Deutsche Bank adjusts target to €12.50 from EUR 50, following the stock split.

IBERIA was up €0.08 to €3.52... Former directors preparing offer - press - Former directors of the company have had talks with investors with regard to making an offer, reports Cinco Dias. The company says the directors, who worked at the company in the 1990s when the company was state-owned, want to maintain the company 's strategy and not integrate it with a foreign company. Citigroup expects the company to report 5.0% growth in passenger traffic (10 Oct).

Switzerland

SWISS RE was up CHF3.10 to CHF111.10... Merrill ups target, adds to Europe 1 - Merrill Lynch raises target to CHF145 from CHF140, as it adds the stock to its Europe 1 focus list. Keeps buy rating. The company says it is raising its 2007-09 EPS estimates again today by about 10%, with the latest increases largely on the back of an assumed better investment yield. Adds that a very poor five year performance puts the shares at a very low valuation; even relative to peers like Munich Re who face the same cyclical concerns.

SWISS LIFE was up CHF3.25 to CHF315.50... Aegon competes for the company units - press - Aegon is interested in acquiring the Dutch unit of the company and is competing with Eureko and SNS Reaal for ownership, De Telegraaf reported, citing unidentified people.


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