Markets & Finance

European Movers: Nestle, Ahold, Northern Rock


Plus more European stocks making headlines Tuesday

France

AIR FRANCE-KLM was up €0.14 to €23.36... Italy needs more time to study offers - Italy's Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi has said that the rival offers for Alitalia need to be studied more carefully. Bianchi has also called the unions for a meeting tomorrow. Separately, Alitalia's board is supposed to meet this afternoon, however the meeting may be postponed until January for fears that an unpopular decision may trigger a strike by Alitlia workers during the holiday season, Il Sole 24 Ore says. It adds the Italian govt thinks it is better to postpone the meeting following improvements in the offer from Air One.

Germany

SOFTWARE AG was up €3.22 to €58.00... Sees 2008 EBIT margin at 23-24% - This follows the company having won a legal dispute in the US concerning its market presence in Brazil. the company won't incur any additional extraordinary market entry costs.

FMC was down €1.08 to €35.40... Senate decision on Medicare issue weighs - A ruling by the Senate Finance Committee in the US, to delay for six months a 10% cut of Medicare physician pay rates, means reimbursements to some Medicare providers, such as the company , may be reduced to help finance the current physician payment fix. A comprehensive reform next year is unlikely, given election year.

ARCANDOR was down €0.73 to €16.77... Quarterly core earnings rise tenfold - the company reported third quarter adjusted sales up 131% at €7.4 billion and quarterly adjusted EBITDA up nearly tenfold at €700 million, helped mainly by Thomas Cook's contribution and a cut in losses at the Primondo mail order unit. The company says it is satisfied with Christmas business so far, and is upbeat about the future. Is axing 129 jobs at its Freiburg site.

Italy

ALITALIA was up €0.01 to €0.73... Bianchi to meet unions tomorrow - Italy's Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi has said that the rival offers for the company need to be studied more carefully. Bianchi has also called the unions for a meeting tomorrow. the company 's board meeting today, during which it will compare offers from Air One and Air France-KLM, may be postponed until January for fears that an unpopular decision may trigger a strike by the company workers during the holiday season, Il Sole 24 Ore says. It adds the govt thinks it is better to postpone the meeting following improvements in the offer from Air One. the company has announced it has received a letter stating that the consortium that includes SA Holdings, Evergreen LLC and THL Transportation has withdrawn its interest in presenting a non-binding offer.

LOTTOMATICA was up €0.68 to €23.75... Sees fiscal 2007 lottery revenues of €6 billion - CEO Marco Sala has said in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore that revenues from lottery games will reach €6 billion this year. Expects revenues from instant lotteries to double year-over-year to €8 billion in fiscal 2007 and to continue growing in 2008.

CELL THERAPEUTICS was up €0.10 to €1.48... To submit EU marketing application earlier - the company has announced it will submit its lung cancer drug candidate Xyotax for European marketing approval in first quarter08, before expected, following feedback from European officials at the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

Netherlands

AHOLD (AHONY) was up €0.12 to €9.50... UBS upgrades to neutral from sell and keeps its €9.80 target. Notes the shares have fallen from their €11.20 peak in October. Broker sees factors that had led it to be cautious (shares overheated by the buyback, US$ weakness, no discount to its SOTP) as either no longer current or relevant.

HAGEMEYER was up €0.14 to €4.57... Rexel to press ahead with takeover - FT - Rexel is expected to go ahead with its €3.1 billion bid for the company , the FT reports. This despite the company being ordered to pay €50 million as an advance payment for damages over the bankruptcy of Ceteco, a former subsidiary.

Nordic

AKER YARDS was down NOK20.25 to NOK65.25... Cuts EBIT margin forecast - the company cuts 2007-08 outlook now expecting 2008 group EBIT margin at 4% vs 5% previously forecast. the company will also take a charge in fourth quarter in relation to delays in Finnish ferry deliveries due to heavy load and lack of resources.

Switzerland

NESTLE was down CHF15.00 to CHF522.00... The broker downgrades weigh on stock - UBS downgrades to neutral from buy following a strong performance in the share price. The broker still regards the company as a core holding in the sector and has actually edged up its price target - by 2% to CHF585. Deutsche Bank downgrades to hold from buy. Notes the group is now very close to its CHF550 price target and it is becoming more cautious about the earnings outlook in 2008 for the whole European food sector.

ABB LTD (ABB) was up CHF0.34 to CHF31.30... Wins orders worth US$440 million in China for the world's longest power link, reportedly.

United Kingdom

NORTHERN ROCK was down £0.05 to £0.87... Treasury extends guarantees The HM Treasury confirms that the guarantee arrangements for the company are being extended, at the request of the company to a wider range of wholesale products. The company says no change is being made to the guarantee arrangements in respect of retail deposits, which remain fully protected under the announcements previously made by HM Treasury. the company plc will pay an appropriate fee for the extension of the guarantee arrangements.

DRAX was down £0.46 to £6.24... Sees fiscal EBITDA at £500 million the company continues to trade in line with its expectations. The company says power markets remain volatile and achieved power prices reflect the timing of when sales were made. Notes international coal prices have been at record levels for much of second half07. Expects fiscal EBITDA to be around £500 million; closing cash position should be in the range £55 million to £60 million. Expects to recommend a final ordinary dividend of 9.9p per share.

DEBENHAMS was up £0.06 to £0.82... Shares up on Jagtiani stake building - Micky Jagtiani, chairman of Landmark Group, has built a 7.37% stake in the company JP Morgan cuts target to £0.80 from £1.00, reiterates underweight. The broker keeps fiscal 2007 EPS est. of 9.32p and decreases fiscal 2008 EPS est. to 10.07p vs 11.23p.


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