Markets & Finance

European Movers: HBOS, Accor, Wolters Kluwer


Plus more European stocks making headlines in Wednesday's market

UK

HBOS

Down GBP0.50 to GBP6.55

FY u/l PTP misses ests, margins down

Posts FY underlying PTP of GBP5.708bn, +3%; net interest margin 163bps (vs 172bps yr ago); underlying EPS 106.2p, +6%; total DPS 48.9p, +18%; final DPS 32.3p, +16%; customer deposits GBP243.2bn, 15%. Says is well placed to take opportunities presented by the difficult markets and deliver good growth in shareholder value over the next few years. Analysts had forecast FY underlying PTP at GBP5.761bn (+5%); underlying EPS 106.0p (+5%); DPS 48.7p (+18%).

ROYAL & SUN ALLIANCE

Down GBP0.01 to GBP1.41

FY figures ahead of forecast

Posts FY operating result of GBP814m, +4%; NAV 91p, 11%; net written premiums of GBP5.8bn, +6%; combined operating ratio 92.8% ex impact of UK flood losses; final DPS 4.53p, +10%. Expects 2008 combined operating ratio of 95%. Analysts had forecast premium income of GBP5.778bn (+9%), NAV 90.1p/sh (+11%).

OLD MUTUAL (UK)

Down GBP0.04 to GBP1.33

2007 operating profit down 5%, lags est - 2007 operating profit fell 5%, falling short of forecasts. Meanwhile, expects a resilient performance in 2008. Adjusted operating profit amounts to GBP1.53bn, negatively affected by poor performance in South Africa along with a weak ZAR and US$. Life APE sales increased 12% to GBP1.760bn.

BARRATT DEVELOPMENT

Up GBP0.08 to GBP4.32

1H PTP rises 14.3%

Reports 1H PTP before restructuring costs GBP201.8m, +14.3%; interim DPS 12.23p, +7.5%; completions 9,056, +25.7%. turnover GBP1.652bn,, +38.4%. Says as at 17 February forward sales had increased to GBP1.615bn, down 7% vs last year.

FRANCE

BOUYGUES

Down EUR 3.28 to EUR 47.57

FY07 net profit misses estimates

Co. posts FY07 operating profit of EUR 2.181bn, up 15% y/y, but below consensus of EUR 2.289bn. Recurring net profit of EUR 1.376bn, up 32% y/y, arrives below consensus of EUR 1.391bn. Says net debt was virtually stable at EUR 4.3bn, up 3% y/y, despite EUR 1.7bn in financial investments. Proposes DPS of EUR 1.50, up 25% y/y. Co. issues 'bright' outlook, targetting FY08 sales of EUR 32.3bn, up 9%.

ACCOR

Down EUR 2.25 to EUR 50.95

FY07 beats ests., but CEO comment weighs

Co. unveils operating profit before tax and recurring items of EUR 907m, up 21.6% y/y LFL; EBITDAR of EUR 2.321bn, up 9.2% y/y LFL; and net profit of EUR 883m, up 76.2% y/y, beating consensus of EUR 603m, up 17% y/y. Sales were reported at EUR 8.121, up 6.8% y/y. Proposes DPS of EUR 1.65, up 14% y/y - and a special dividend of EUR 1.50/sh. Co. also proposes a EUR 400m buyback. In total, Co. envisages a EUR 750m return to shareholders. Co. intends to modify the owning structure of c.233 hotels in FY08, for an expected impact of c.EUR 600m. However, CEO Gilles Pelisson says there has been 'a little slowdown in the US' and the comment weighs the stock.

GDF

Up EUR 0.88 to EUR 38.26

Reports better-than-expected FY07 net income

Co. unveils FY07 adjusted operating income up 10% to EUR 5.666bn; net income group share of EUR 2.472bn, +7.6% and better-than-expected; dividend up 15% at EUR 1.26 per share. Co. aims to achieve EUR 6.1bn in gross operating margin in 2008. This objective is in line with that set out for the 2005-2008 period of an average increase of 10% per year. Also anticipates growth in its investments, expected to reach EUR 4bn in 2008. Says the dividend per share in 2009 is expected to grow by 10% to 15% growth over that paid in 2008.

ALCATEL-LUCENT

Down EUR 0.03 to EUR 4.22

French govt doesn't plan to take a stake

The French government has no plans to take a stake in Co., Bloomberg writes, citing an unidentified spokesman for the Finance Ministry. This follows a report in Challenges magazine saying that Nicolas Sarkozy may make a 'major announcement' next Monday at a technology fair in Hannover, Germany, noting that the option of the French government taking a stake in Co. 'isn't excluded'.

GERMANY

HENKEL

Up EUR 0.45 to EUR 31.01

FY figs/ Efficiency programme / Ecolab divestment

Co. reports FY sales up 2.6% to EUR 13.07bn, with organic sales growth of 5.8%. EBIT rises 3.5% to EUR 1.344bn. Net earnings for the year are up 8% to EUR 941m. Ups dividend to EUR 0.53 per preferred share and to EUR 0.51 per ordinary share. Co. expects to achieve organic sales growth of 3-4% in 2008. Co. also says it is initiating measures to increase long-term profitability, designed to generate annual savings of around EUR 150m from 2011. These measures could result in the reduction of about 3,000 jobs. Also, Co. intends to divest all or part of its stake in Ecolab. Bear Stearns values the 29.4% stake at EUR 2bn post tax, and says the divestment suggests no rights issue in the context of the ICI/National Starch deal.

RWE

Up EUR 0.27 to EUR 80.59

Signs 450 wind turbine MoU with Repower

REpower and Co.'s renewables subsidiary, RWE Innogy, have signed a MoU to negotiate the supply of c.250 offshore and 200 onshore wind turbines. Delivery time estimated to 2012-14. UBS notes, this boosts the commercial applications for REpower's offshore turbine technology, and says potential order size could be 80-85% of Suzlon's current order book.

ITALY

TOD'S

Down EUR 1.54 to EUR 42.40

UBS places short-term sell rating

UBS has placed Short-Term Sell ratings on Co. and Burberry, due to macro concerns. Broker's 12M ratings remain neutral. Goldman downgrades to sell from neutral and cuts target to EUR 39 from EUR 42. Regarding sector, says that while macro and concerns are likely to continue to prevail in the term, believes that investors should focus on fundamentals and sustainability of growth. Still significant opportunities for companies able to capitalize on global brand awareness and scalability business models. Brand strength remains key retaining customers in a slowing global economy.

GEOX

Down EUR 1.81 to EUR 10.65

FY07 net income at EUR 123m, up 23%

Co. has announced to have closed 2007 with net income at EUR 123m, up 23% and consolidated revenues of EUR 770.2m, up 26%. Says that EBITDA came in at EUR 200.9m, up 31% while was EBIT at EUR 179.7m, up +33%. Regarding the dividend, says it will pay EUR 0.24 with a payout increase of 50%. Says 2008 outlook would be characterised by strong investments in the store network. Expects sales CAGR of 20% over 2008-2010. Sees EBITDA margin of around 25% in 2008; 26% in 2009 and around 27% in 2010. Says 2008 Capex should be of EUR 70m.

STMICRO

Up EUR 0.18 to EUR 8.57

French state acquires 2.85% of capital

The French President's office has announced that the French State has purchased 2.85% of capital of Co. Explains that the acquisition has been done to maintain the independence of the group.

NETHERLANDS

WOLTERS KLUWER

Down EUR 1.66 to EUR 17.78

FY EPS in line with estimates

Co. reports FY sales of EUR 3.41bn vs an expected EUR 3.42bn. Net income is at EUR 918m. FY EPS is at EUR 1.38, in line with consensus. For 4Q sales are at 937m vs consensus of EUR 942m and ordinary net income at EUR 140m vs the expected EUR 135.6m. Ups dividend to EUR 0.64 per share. Analysts note 4Q results at both Health and CFS came in below expectations. The 2008 outlook is not encouraging. Cut its 2008 sales growth outlook to 4% from 4-5% earlier. During the conference call, analysts questioned management on the viability of the 4%-5% target going forward.

LOGICACMG (NL)

Down EUR 0.07 to EUR 1.40

FY numbers in line, cautious outlook

Co. reports FY sales of GBP3.073bn vs expected GBP3.028bn. Adjusted EPS at 10.2p vs an expected 10p. New CEO will communicate conclusions of business review by the beginning of May. Wants to implement rebranding. Cautious outlook. Expects 2008 constant currency revenue growth will be flat vs 2007.

NORDICS

HANDELSBANKEN

Down SEK12.50 to SEK176.50

4Q op profit falls and lags forecasts

4Q NII amounts to SEK4.1bn vs SEK4.04bn seen in a Reuters poll, net commission income to SEK2.2bn vs SEK2.02bn forecast, operating profit to SEK3.1bn vs SEK4.3bn y/y and vs SEK3.36bn forecast. 4Q costs rise 10% y/y and 16% q/q. 4Q income-to-cost ratio increases to 50.6% vs 41.0% y/y. Proposes a new share buyback mandate and dividend of SEK8.50 vs SEK5.00.

STATOILHYDRO

Up NOK5.10 to NOK160.90

One-off costs weigh - cites div above est

4Q earnings lag forecasts amid one-off merger costs, along with rising production costs- 4Q revenues comes in at NOK146.148bn vs NOK150.301bn seen in a Reuters poll, operating profit at NOK30.847bn vs NOK39.210bn, PTP at NOK30.164bn vs NOK37.958bn, net profit at NOK6.220bn vs NOK11.496bn and EPS of NOK1.93 vs NOK3.61. Production costs rose to NOK44.10 per boe in 2007 vs NOK28.40 y/y. Guides for 2008-12 production costs of NOK33-36 per boe. Co. says its lower 4Q net income was due do higher operating and administrative costs. Co.'s production guidance shows a gradual increase to 2012. Proposes 2007 dividend of NOK8.50/share vs NOK7.96 expected.

SPAIN

IBERIA

Up EUR 0.09 to EUR 2.46

FY07 figures top estimates / Spanair bid

Co. says FY07 operating revenues come in +2.5% y/y at EUR 5.522bn with EBITDAR +17.9% y/y to EUR 932m, operating profit +132.5% to EUR 283.5m and net profit +182% to EUR 327.6m. Numbers are ahead of consensus. Co. and Gestair have offered EUR 30m for Spanair, according to La Vanguardia. Says Co. will pay EUR 6m of this, giving it a 20% stake, while Gestair will pay the rest and take an 80% stake

FERROVIAL

Up EUR 0.81 to EUR 45.79

BAA chief to step down / JPM ups target

Stephen Nelson is to step down as chief executive of BAA, according to the FT. Says Mr Nelson is to be replaced on 1 April by Colin Matthews, who has experience in the utility and airline sectors. JP Morgan ups target to EUR 54 from EUR 49; overweight. Says moves to a probability-weighted analysis. Allots a 50% probability to a successful BAA debt refinancing (PT EUR 62), 35% for no refinancing (PT EUR 52) and a 15% probability of a BAA default, floor valuation (PT EUR 30).

SWITZERLAND

UBS

Up CHF0.38 to CHF37.48

Shareholders approve capital injection

Co.'s shareholders approved a US$12bn capital injection via the placement of a convertible bond. Shareholders vote against special audit proposal at the EGM in Basel today and approve a stock dividend, reportedly. In a speech at the EGM, Chairman Ospel said he will 'not thoughtlessly relinquish responsibility' and wants to put Co. 'back on track'.

HOLCIM

Down CHF1.20 to CHF110.00

Reports mixed 2007 results scorecard

Co. posts sales of CHF27.1bn (vs CHF27bn consensus), operating EBITDA of CHF6.9bn (vs CHF7bn consenus) and net profit of CHF3.9bn (vs CHF3.85bn consensus). Co. proposes increased dividend of CHF3.30 per registered share. In 2008, the group is expecting to again reach its long-term growth target of 5% in internal operating EBITDA.


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