Markets & Finance

European Movers: Pernod Ricard, Munich Re, Arcelor Mittal


Plus more European stocks making headlines Monday

France

PERNOD RICARD was up €3.45 to €153.78... The company is close to clinching the £1 billion purchase of the Stolichnaya vodka brand in a move that could pave the way for the company to challenge the UK's Diageo as the world's leading alcoholic drinks group, according to The Mail on Sunday.

ALCATEL-LUCENT (ALU) was down €0.28 to €5.16... UBS lowers target to €6 from €7 - Broker says mobile market remains challenging and uncertain, expecting to see a decline by 11% in fiscal 2007. Therefore, believes GSM and CDMA will be down in 2008. The company reiterates neutral.

AIR FRANCE-KLM was down €0.86 to €23.22... Confirms non-binding offer for Alitalia - the company confirms that it has made a non binding offer: 1) to acquire 100% of the shares of Alitalia through an exchange offer; 2) to acquire 100% of Alitalia convertible bonds and 3) to immediately inject at least €750 million into Alitalia through a capital increase, that will be open to all shareholders and be fully underwritten by the company Alitalia's fleet renewal is the company 's top priority. Adds that the company 's Recovery and Relaunch Plan will not add any more redundancies to Alitalia's current plan.

Germany

MUNICH RE was down €1.03 to €128.70... To buy Sterling Life / Broker action - the company has agreed to buy US healthcare insurer Sterling Life for US$352 million. For DZ Bank's broadly positive comment, see Broker Views & News - Germany. Deutsche lifts target to €139 from €138, reiterating hold. UBS downgrades to neutral from buy, cutting the target to €145 from €155.

NORDEX was down €2.02 to €31.37... Warns on profit - the company says 2007 EBIT could lag forecasts by €10 million in a worst-case scenario, but expects to make up for missed 2007 sales and earnings next year. The FTD had reported, citing the company 's CEO, that the company may not reach its fiscal 2007 revenue target of between €760 million and €770 million due to project delays.

CONTINENTAL was down €2.43 to €85.63... Weak demand for winter tires weighs - According to press reports, orders for winter tires in Germany in November fell 45% year-over-year because of the mild winter and general weak demand in the auto industry in Germany. The company , meanwhile, says it expects to sell fewer than the 19.1 million winter tires it sold last year.

Italy

ALITALIA was down €0.04 to €0.72... Air One, Air France confirm offers - AP Holding has confirmed it is offering €0.01/sh for the company , adding that it would like to offer those accepting its bid a 3% stake in the resulting new group, according to Reuters. The company says offers market price for all the company 's bonds held by treasury. Also says its plan sees structural costs of €900 million. Air France has confirmed it has made a non-binding offer for 100% of the company 's shares via a share swap and a capital increase of €750 million as a part of its bid for the company The Franco-Dutch airline would plan to cut up to 1,700 jobs and would renew the company 's fleet with two or three aircraft p.a. the company is scheduled to hold a board meeting Tuesday to announce a decision on which bidder to open negotiations with. Air One is looking for a strong foreign partner for Alitalia, Air One's Carlo Toto said yesterday according to Italian daily Il Giornale. The paper adds the partner may be Lufthansa, that could buy shares of AP Holding for under €1 billion - a move that would not hurt the German airline's rating, the daily says.

Netherlands

ARCELOR-MITTAL (NL) (MT) Down €1.44 to €48.20... Terminates sale of Sparrows Point - the company says it has terminated its agreement with E2 Acquisition Corporation (E2) for the sale of the company 's Sparrows Point, Baltimore facility and related assets to E2, due to E2's inability to secure financing.

STORK was up €0.10 to €47.94... Bid formally proceeds - London Acquisition (the holding company controlled by a consortium of funds managed and advised by, or affiliated with, Candover, Landsbanki Islands and Eyrir Invest) and the company jointly formally announce the former's €48.40/share, €1.5 billion, offer for the company the company 's board unanimously supports the offer. the company shareholders will hold an EGM on 4 January 2008.

Switzerland

SGS was down CHF75.00 to CHF1300.00... Hard time meeting 2008 goals because of lack of acquisitions, the company 's head said over the weekend.

United Kingdom

NORTHERN ROCK was down £0.01 to £0.91... Luqman to raise bid, Virgin without licence Luqman Arnold'S Olivant is expected to increase the cash component of its bid for the company by £200 million to £800 million, The Times writes. The battle to sell the company hit huge new difficulties when it emerged that favored bidder Sir Richard Branson doesn't have a banking licence, The Observer reports. The company says Branson's Virgin Money offshoot must seek authorisation from the Financial Services Authority to take depositors' money, and that process could take up to three months.

This content is written by SP MarketScope Europe (EMS), an equity newswire. Reporters are: Pawan Girglani, Emma Gonzalez, Julien Manrique, Sara Oscarsson, Rocio Opazo-Aniotz, Gaurav Panchal, Claudia Perotti, Michael Sanderson, Emma Stevenson, John West, Isabell Witt .

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