Markets & Finance

European Movers: AXA, Bayer, Fiat


Plus more European stocks making headlines in Tuesday's market

UK

ADMIRAL

Down GBP1.53 to GBP8.49

FY PTP up 24% to GBP182.1m

Announces FY07 PTP of GBP182.1m, +24%; turnover of GBP824.9m, +16%; net revenue GBP364m, +17%. Says YE vehicle count was up 16% to 1.5m. Confused.com gave 13m quotes (up 42%) and made a profit of GBP36.7m. Says realistically, 2008 will be a much tougher year within which to grow. To propose a total final dividend of 23.2p.

TRAVIS PERKINS

Up GBP0.07 to GBP10.77

FY adj PTP up 18.7%, market growth slowing

Posts FY adjusted PTP of GBP261m, +18.7%; revenue GBP3.187bn, +11.9%; adjusted op margin 10.0%, +28bps; adjusted EPS 149.8p, +17.6 %; DPS 44.9p, +20.1%. Says is well placed to continue progress in what is expected to be a more challenging market in 2008. Adds that early sales performance in 2008 reflects expected slowing of market growth, with LFL sales in merchanting unit for first 2M ahead by 5.7% and LFL sales for first 8 weeks in retail up by 0.9%. Analysts had forecast FY PTP of GBP260m, revenue of GBP3.169bn, EPS of 147.5p.

PREMIER FOODS

Up GBP0.06 to GBP0.98

Shares rally on debt relief

Posts FY turnover of GBP2.247bn, trading profit GBP280.2m; op profit GBP76.1m; adj PTP GBP170.8m; basic EPS loss 8.2p. Cuts dividend by 45.8% to 6.5p. Remains on track to deliver the total GBP113m of annual cost synergies. Expects cost inflation will reduce trading profit in the Core Premier division by approximately GBP10m, in 1Q. Numis notes Co. has renegotiated its covenants with the banks and agreed additional banking facilities. Says this means it has now has more headroom than the market had expected, notably for the June 2008 covenant test but is not completely out of the woods for the December 2008 test.

FRANCE

AXA

Down EUR 0.67 to EUR 21.40

Exane BNP Paribas downgrades to neutral from outperform and cuts target to EUR 31.5 from EUR 38.5. Credit Suisse trims target to EUR 30 from EUR 31. Broker decreases earnings estimates to reflect a lower than expected asset base at the beginning of the year. Now believes that underlying earnings might come in at EUR 4.9bn in 2008, flat y/y and down 5.7% on previous numbers. Also estimates that embedded value per share might have fallen by a further 3.7% since year-end, to EUR 16.5 per share now. Keeps outperform. SocGen cuts target to EUR 22 from EUR 24. Broker has again downgraded earnings forecasts for 2008 and beyond by 4% on average (7% below consensus). Keeps hold.

M6

Down EUR 0.57 to EUR 14.52

FY07 net profit falls 59%/Oddo downgrades

Co. announces FY07 att net profit of EUR 168.70m, down 58.7% y/y; net profit from continuing activities of EUR 168.60m, +11.1%; cons revenues of EUR 1.356bn, +5.7%; EBITA from cont. ops EUR 236.1m, +5.9%. To continue with its share buy-back programme but will not rule out the possibility of favouring a significant investment over the period. Oddo Securities downgrades to add from buy and cuts target to EUR 18 from EUR 21 due to recent derating of TV assets, newsflow likely to remain negative and the decrease of the speculative premium as the regulatory law will probably not be changed this year.

GERMANY

BAYER

Down EUR 2.91 to EUR 47.29

Brokers cuts target

Exane cuts target to EUR 63 from EUR 65, keeps neutral. Cheuvreux cuts target to EUR 66 vs EUR 67, keeps selected list. WestLB cuts target to EUR 60 vs EUR 66.10, keeps add. See Broker Views & News - Germany.

PROSIEBEN

Down EUR 0.89 to EUR 13.08

Adj net income reaches EUR 272.8m - keeps outlook

Co. reports FY07 results with sales of EUR 2.7bn in line with a Reuters consensus, adj EBITDA of EUR 661.9m, adj net income of EUR 272.8m. For 2008, sales and profit are seen up y/y, and expects to book savings of EUR 40m from the integration of SBS. Says it will launch a share buy-back on 7 March, to acquire 1% of preferred shares.

BMW

Down EUR 1.21 to EUR 35.28

US car sales fall 1.8% - in February to 24,190.

RWE

Down EUR 0.98 to EUR 77.80

Go ahead for power plant in Hamm

RWE Power has been given the go ahead to construct a EUR 2bn twin-unit hard-coal power plant in Hamm. Says the cutting-edge technology will reduce CO2 emissions by 2.5m tons annually.

ITALY

ALITALIA

Down EUR 0.03 to EUR 0.57

Air France may raise offer with conditions

Air France-KLM may raise its EUR 0.35/sh offer for Co. if a deal is reached on its conditions, according to MF. The paper writes that Air France's CEO Jean Spinetta does not want to purchase Co.'s affiliate AZ Servizi, but only a part of its 49% activities. The paper adds that if Air France's conditions are not accepted the 'negotiations will turn difficult'. Italy's highest administrative appeals court, Consiglio di Stato, ruled that Co.'s acquisition in 2006 of the low-cost airline Volare, had been irregular and that the tender process should be repeated.

FIAT

Down EUR 0.91 to EUR 13.06

February new car registrations fell 8%

Italian new car registrations fell 3.91% in February, while Co.'s sales fell 8% to 67,404 units, according to the Transport Ministry. Explains that registrations totalled 216,927 units in February (vs. 225,749 for the same month the previous year.

NETHERLANDS

ASML

Down EUR 0.62 to EUR 15.15

Exane downgrades / Intel cuts 1Q margin estimates

Goldman Sachs cuts target of Co. to EUR 18 from EUR 22 to reflect order push-outs resulting in lower 2008 shipment forecasts, maintains neutral recommendation. Thinks DRAM contract prices are improving, but it is unclear whether the improvement is sustainable. Also, Exane downgrades to underperform from outperform and cuts target to EUR 15 from EUR 27.40. Intel has lowered its 1Q gross margin forecast to 54% compared to the previous forecast of 56%, due to lower-than-expected prices for NAND flash memory chips.

NORDIC

NORSKE SKOG

Up NOK2.65 to NOK28.65

NRK speculates on Wallenberg/UPM bid

Norwegian TV channel NRK speculates Wallenberg controlled Stora Enso and UPM are preparing a bid for Co.

DANISCO

Up DKK23.50 to DKK365.00

Raises guidance at Danisco Sugar - prepares sale or spin-off

Co. lifts guidance for its sugar division and says it had started the spin-off process to sell or list the unit by the end of 2008. States it has been in contact with several potential buyers, but says its primary objective is separate listing. For FY07/08 Danisco Sugar is expected to deliver revenues of DKK6.75bn and EBIT, before special items and share-based payments, of c.DKK600m. For FY08/09 the unit is expected to deliver revenues of c.DKK7.0bn and EBIT, before special items and share-based payments, between DKK400m-DKK450m.

SPAIN

IBERDROLA

Up EUR 0.14 to EUR 9.48

EDF could launch bid on 10 March – website

EDF could launch a bid for Co. as early as 10 March, the day after the Spanish general election, Hispanidad writes.

COLONIAL

Down EUR 0.07 to EUR 1.16

Shareholders and ICD in contact over bid

Co. says shareholders and ICD are still in contact over a possible bid. Says cannot tell whether an agreement will be reached in the near future. Co.'s shares were suspended this morning by the CNMV. Investment Corporation of Dubai said this morning it has failed to reach an agreement with Co.'s shareholders on the proposed bid, and that the offer has expired. Co.'s financing banks - led by Goldman Sachs - are preparing to take control of the company, reports Negocio. Says new offers could appear, but thinks the price will be lower.

SWITZERLAND

ADECCO

Down CHF0.25 to CHF53.60

FY07 results beat estimates, weak France Reports FY07 revenue of EUR 21.1bn, +3% (+4% organic); op income EUR 1.054bn, +29% (+28% organic); net income EUR 735m, +20%; basic EPS EUR 3.97. Lifts DPS to CHF1.50. Says in 4Q revenues rose to EUR 5.4bn, +2%; op income EUR 246m, +11%; net income EUR 150m; op margin 4.6%. Says it continues to see solid growth rates in the European and Asian staffing markets, while demand patterns in the US remain weak. In the short-term, expects to see growth rates below the market in France and the UK.


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