Plus more European stocks making headlines Friday
BHP BILLITON (BHP) was up £0.07 to £16.05... Could offer 3.5 shrs for 1 Rio share - Traders note talk that the company could offer 3.5 shares for each Rio Tinto share. Note that the company had earlier offered 3 shares for each Rio Tinto share. The offer was rebuffed by Rio Tinto as too low. Rio Tinto, fighting off an unsolicited US$131.57 billion takeover bid from the company , is considering turning the tables on its rival and launching a counterbid for the company , according to people close to the matter, Thw WSJ writes.
BRITISH LAND was down £0.22 to £8.90... Goldman, Lehman cut price target - Goldman Sachs cuts target to £13.70 from £14.37, keeps buy, post first half figures. Believes the company is better positioned to weather a difficult operating environment and furthermore benefit from any subsequent recovery. That said, sees little in managements comments to alter view that any such recovery is unlikely to be evident any time soon. Lehman downgrades to equalweight from overweight, cuts target to £13.75 from £14.87. The company says the company governing dynamics are flat and earnings are positioned defensively, but this was as close to an NAV warning as the sector comes. Adds the market is skeptical of the unsold Meadowhall Centre which risks further write-downs.
CADBURY SCHWEPPES (CSG) was up £0.04 to £6.13... Good value post Beverages spin-off - Bernstein points out that as indicated in the recent filing of a Form 10 Information Statement with the SEC, the spin of the Americas Beverages business is now likely to occur in second quarter08. After the Beverages spin-off in second quarter08, believes investors will better see that the remaining confectionery business is attractively valued, especially considering the upside potential from 3-4 years of strong top-line growth and outstanding margin growth. Adds the potential for the company being acquired would be the cherry on the top of the cake. Rate outperform with £7.95/sh target.
DEXIA was down €1.42 to €17.87... third quarter net profit falls 28% year-over-year - third quarter net profit falls to €439 million, down 28% year-over-year, with net profit ex-items coming in at €481 million, below consensus of €542 million. The company reiterates its lack of exposure to subprime, though mark-to-market losses impacted on the numbers. Maintains guidance, noting that 'the current crises has clearly created new opportunities, but also a much greater volatility.
VALLOUREC was up €4.09 to €198.19... Call option rumour lifts stock - the company trades higher amid trader talk of a significant purchase of call options set at €240 per share. There is also revived talk of interest from Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, with rumour suggesting he has increased his stake to 12%.
INFINEON (IFX) was down €0.95 to €8.15... Shares slump as Exane slashes target to €7.7 from €10.2, keeping an underperform rating. After contact with the company following the annual results, the broker has slashed 2008/2009 EPS estimates due to a lower DRAM ASP and also due to lower Logic sales than expected. In further broker changes, Goldman cuts target to €12 from EUR 13.50, maintains buy recommendation. In other news, the company will close sale of Altis Semicon stake this quarter, which will save about €200 million in restructuring charges.
ENI (E) was up €0.64 to €24.20... Goldman adds to conviction buy list as believes the company currently has the most attractive valuation in the sector. Sees two main catalysts for next six months: a potential resolution of the Kashagan negotiations and fourth quarter results. The company says target price of €30 implies 27% potential upside. Points out as main risks fall in oil prices, further appreciation of EUR, an expensive acquisition and a nationalization of the Kashagan field. Deutsche Bank lifts target to €30 from €29, based on a target fiscal 2008 PE multiple of 10.7x, compared to a 15-year sector average of 15x and a historic peak sector multiple of 10x. Raises EPS forecasts for fiscal 2007, fiscal 2008, fiscal 2009 and FY10 by 7%, 23%, 29% and 5%. Keeps buy recommendation.
BANCO POPOLARE was down €0.37 to €14.33... Shares at year low, cap hike rumours - Shares trade on a year-low as market rumours circulate that the company may need to launch a capital increase and that Fabio Innocenzi could resign as CEO of the company
AHOLD (AHONY) was down €0.03 to €9.88... John Rishton well regarded - ABN - the company has announced John Rishton to be new CEO of the company , effectively immediately. Rishton was already acting CEO as well as CFO since Anders Moberg quit the top position in July. ABN analysts say John Rishton is well regarded by investors as since his appointment in Jan 2006 as he has been instrumental in executing a strategic review and subsequently implementing a number of rationale decisions such as disposing US Foodservice and handing back €4 billion to investors.
TELE2 was up SEK2.00 to SEK144.75... Tele2 Russia expands GSM operations - the company has been awarded three new GSM 1800 licenses in the regions of Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Evenkia in Sibiria.
TELIASONERA Unchanged at SEK61.75... Altimo proposes MegaFon takeover - Russian Altimo says it would make sense if partner the company took control over Russian MegaFon, stating it is willing to do a cash-and-shares deal to swap its 25.1% stake in MegaFon for a minority stake in the company , according to Reuters. the company has for a considerable time tried to gain control over MegaFon (44% stake) and Turkcell (37% stake), the latter also partly owned by Altimo. the company has declined to comment on Altimo's suggestion.
IBERIA was up €0.02 to €3.67... October load factor rises to 84.2% - the company says October load factor gained 1.6pp year-over-year to 84.2% with passenger traffic (PKT) up 3.0% and capacity up 1.0%. Actual passenger numbers fell 3.9%.
RICHEMONT was down CHF0.15 to CHF73.00... first half beats estimates - the company reports first half net profit of €824 million, higher than expected, on sales of €2.548 billion vs consensus estimates of €2.55 billion. Operating income is at EUR 560 million, higher than the expected €514 million.