Plus more European stocks making headlines Tuesday
MARKS & SPENCER was up £0.21 to £6.54... Unveils £1 billion share buyback - Reports first half adjusted pretax profit of £451.8 million, +11.5% (vs consensus of GB440 million-£445 million); sales £4.2 billion, +6.5%; UK
sales up 5.9%; International sales up 13.8%; UK
like-for-like sales +1.6% (vs cons +1.5%); General Merchandise +2.3%; Food +0.5%; interim DPS 8.3p, +31.7%. Is to start share buy-back of up to £1 billion, equivalent to c.10% of issued share capital. Believes there is a significant opportunity to grow International business and is targeting a 15-20% contribution to revenues within next five years. The company says short term economic outlook remains uncertain. Adds that is stepping up capital investment in the business and expects to spend over £1 billion in 2007/08 and in 2008/09.
YELL was down £0.01 to £4.26... first half adj EBITDA up 18.8%, beats forecast - Unveils first half adjusted EBITDA £319.8 million, +18.8% (vs cons £304 million); adjusted pretax profit and after minority interests £114.7 million, +7.3%; revenue £965.4 million, +13.7% (vs cons £956 million). For FY, anticipates performance to be in line with expectations.
LIBERTY INTL was down £0.08 to £11.19... nine months adj earnings up 10% - The company says for the nine months ended 30 September adjusted EPS was 26.7p, +10% and adjusted net assets £13.69/sh.
AB FOODS was down £0.21 to £8.90... Dresdner cuts to hold and keeps £8.75 price target following in line FY figures and given the recent share price rally. the company reports fiscal adjusted pretax profit of £613 million, +10% (vs estimate of £612 million); revenue £6.8 billion, +13%; adjusted EPS 52.9p, +4%; DPS 19.5p, +4%. The company says high commodity costs will continue to put pressure on margins but is seeing some success in recovery through prices.
SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY) was up €1.33 to €61.57... ING sees €2.50 boost from generic rejection - the company receives a boost from news the FDA has rejected a generic version of the company 's blood-thinning drug Lovenox from Momenta Pharmaceuticals. According to ING, assuming 60:40 market consensus in favor of generics, the company shares should get an uplift of €2.50.
EDF was up €2.38 to €84.29... Added to MSCI World index - source - A trading source reports that the company is to be added to the MSCI World index from the close 30 November. This should add support as index trackers adjust - especially given a low available freefloat of some 11% (or US$22 billion).
TOTAL (TOT) was up €0.24 to €54.61... Credit Suisse upgrades to outperform from neutral, with a target price of EUR 62.40. Notes the company has underperformed the sector by close to 10% in 2007. Believes the shares offer value, but importantly forecasts a return to upstream volume growth in 2008 (3%) and 2009 (up to 7%) after what it describes as a disappointing 2007. The company says the company trades at 6.9x est. 2009 EV/CF compared with the supermajor average of 7.4x.
BMW was down €1.49 to €43.31... Quarterly pretax profit misses expectations - the company reported third quarter group pretax profit of €765 million, clearly below the consensus expectation of €913 million, on group revenues at €13.78 billion. Confirmed its 2007 outlook. Meanwhile, market talk has it that the company and Peugeot have an engine j/v for the Mini. This, to some, suggests the company and the French car maker could be talking about a merger as a whole, which, however, most consider unlikely.
BAYER (BAYRY) was down €0.39 to €56.62... third quarter earnings top expectations / Unit revamp - the company reported EBIT before special items of €953 million, a touch better than expected, on in-line sales at €7.79 billion. Net income of €1.18 billion is also a tad better than forecast. The company says it sees an increase in group sales in 2007 to more than €32 billion. the company has begun cost-cutting measures at its MaterialScience unit to help save €300 million yearly by the end of 2009. It expects total special charges of €150-200 million through 2009 to achieve these savings.
HEIDELDRUECK was down €1.95 to €25.42... Quarterly profit misses forecasts - the company reported lower-than-expected second quarter EBIT of €70 million, with net earnings of €36 million also falling short of expectations. the company said the detrimental effect of exchange rate movements and high energy and raw material costs have made life difficult. On the broker front, WestLB cuts target to €30 from €32, reiterating hold.
BP MILANO was up €0.26 to €10.76... Board meets today, alliances on agenda - the company 's board will meet today to discuss possible alliances. The board is expected to discuss potential partnerships with BP Emilia Romagna and France's Credit Mutuel. According to a report in La Repubblica, France's Credit Mutuel is looking to take a 40% stake in the company Mutuel currently owns 3% in the company and would be prepared to sell this stake should an alliance not be decided upon today, adds the daily.
CORPORATE EXPRESS was down €0.33 to €7.70... third quarter hit by US and special charges - the company reports third quarter EBIT of €43.3 million vs average forecasts of €59 million. Sales come in at €1.57 billion in line with estimates. North American organic growth was -1%. Total net profit comes in at €16.2 million vs estimates of €20 million. the company maintains its fiscal outlook. Market sources say the numbers are generally light of expectations. However, shares rose earlier as investors looked beyond the numbers to focus on the company 's implementation of announced strategic initiatives under way.
UNILEVER NV (UN) was down €0.16 to €23.60... Better-than-expected price for Boursin - the company has agreed to sell its Boursin branded cheese products to France's Le Groupe Bel for €400 million. ING says price is better than expected, although notes that no margin details were provided.
VESTAS WIND was up DKK70.00 to DKK516.00... Raises fiscal 2008 sales guidance 25% - third quarter sales comes in at €1.2 billion vs €1.2 billion forecast and EBIT at €102 million vs EUR103 million forecast, corresponding to a margin of 8.9%. the company reiterates fiscal 2007 sales forecast at €4.5 billion, while tightening margin guidance to 8% vs 7-9% previously. the company increases fiscal 2008 sales guidance 25% to €5.7 billion with an EBIT margin of 10-12%.
GAS NATURAL was up €0.27 to €41.62... nine months beats forecasts / Strategic plan - the company delivers nine months revenues down 4.8% year-over-year to €7.338 billion; EBITDA up 20.2% to €1.701 billion, operating profit up 26% to €1.185 billion, and net profit up 12.2% to €726.1 million. the company also presents its strategic plan 2008-12. Sees net investments of c.€12 billion, EBITDA in 2012 of c.€3.9 billion, annual net profit growth 2006-12 of greater than 8% and annual dividend growth of 10%.
SWISS RE was up CHF0.90 to CHF102.70... third quarter net profit tops expectations - coming in at CHF1.5 billion on earned premiums of CHF8.1 billion. The quarterly combined ratio of 83.4% compares to an expected 91.8%.
1% in its fiscal operating income margin.
GEBERIT was up CHF12.80 to CHF161.30... nine months earnings top expectations - with net profit coming in at CHF375.7 million, up 28% year-over-year.