Markets & Finance

European Movers: SABMiller, Vivendi, Ericsson


Plus more European stocks making headlines in Thursday's market

UK

BARCLAYS Down GBP0.08 to GBP4.19... Extends falls on rights issue talk - Shares fall on market talk that Co. at its conference call indicated that it may have to raise capital. A souce says Co. didn't say anything explicitly regarding a rights issue. However, Co. did point out that it is below the 5.25% Equity Tier 1 ratio and would like to be at or around that figure. Co. says group PTP in January and February was broadly in line with the monthly run rate for 2007. Adds following tougher capital markets trading conditions in March, 1Q profit was below that of the very strong prior year period. Says there were net losses of GBP1bn relating to credit market turbulence. Expects Tier 1 capital and equity Tier 1 ratios under Basel II at 30 June to be lower than the 7.6% and 5.1% reported as at 31 December. Expects both ratios to be at least at target levels of 7.25% and 5.25% respectively in time.

SABMILLER Up GBP0.47 to GBP12.50... FY adjusted EPS up 19%, beats ests - Posts FY adjusted PTP US$3.639bn, +15%; EBITA US$4.141bn, +15%; revenue US$21.410bn, +15%; adjusted EPS US$1.431, +19%; DPS US$0.58, +16%. In the current year, says 1H volume growth will be affected by high comparative growth rates, and pressure on input costs will continue to increase although pricing and mix benefits are again expected to compensate for these cost increases. Analysts had foreast FY adjusted EPS of US$1.378. Separately, Anheuser-Busch Inc has announced it has signed a letter of intent to stop importing and distributing Grolsch beer in US by 1 August, date when the beer firm will be acquired by Co.

CADBURY PLC Up GBP0.25 to GBP6.72... 1H revenues seen at top end of range - Sir John Sunderland confirms that the new company is off to a strong start with revenues in 1H expected to be above the top end of goal range and trading margins around 150bp ahead. Roger Carr to take over as chairman and Guy Elliott taking on the role of Senior Independent Director.

DSG INTERNATIONAL Down GBP0.05 to GBP0.64... FY LFLs up 1%, cuts DPS and to shut

stores - Co. says FY sales rose 8% and LFL sales were up 1%. Adds trading environment remains very challenging, particularly in the UK, Italy and Spain. Final DPS 3.43p, total DPS 5.45p. As a part of the business review, says is to close 77 Currys.digital stores as their leases expire. Adds new Italian team has already announced a planned closure of up to 43 stores. Is to cut total DPS by 50%, starting with the final DPS for FY to 3 May. Unveils Step Change programme to reduce costs by GBP50m in 2008/09. Panmure downgrades to sell from hold, lowers target to GBP0.55 from GBP0.65. Believes the risk/reward equation is not in Co.'s favour. Seymour Pierce downgrades to sell from hold, keeps GBP0.60 target.

BT GROUP Up GBP0.12 to GBP2.36... Verwaayen hangs up with 3% rise in 4Q PTP - Posts 4Q PTP before specific items and leaver costs of GBP714m +3%; revenue of GBP5.422bn, +2%; EBITDA before specific items and leaver costs GBP1.569bn, +2%; EPS before specific items and leaver 7.0p, +11%. Note that Ben Verwaayen who steps down as CEO at the end of this month. Analysts had forecast 4Q EBITDA of GBP1.57bn, revenue of GBP5.3bn.

FRANCE

BOUYGUES Up EUR 1.98 to EUR 50.23... 1Q sales beat estimates - Co. posts 1Q sales up 15% to EUR 6.82bn vs consensus forecast of EUR 6.61bn.

VIVENDI Up EUR 1.31 to EUR 26.51... 1Q adjusted net income beats consensus - Co.'s 1Q adjusted net income fell 9.6% to EUR 697m vs consensus forecast of EUR 636m. Confirms FY08 targets.

EADS Up EUR 0.19 to EUR 16.83... UK site sale in weeks - FT / JPM ups target - Co. expects to complete the sale of a large part of its Airbus site at Filton in the UK in the next few weeks to GKN in spite of its failure to reach deals for other important Airbus sites in France and Germany, the FT reports. In broker news, JP Morgan ups target to EUR 25 from EUR 24, keeps overweight, post 'strong' 1Q results.

NATIXIS Up EUR 1.82 to EUR 12.44... Profits slide in 1Q - Announces 1Q gross op income of EUR 108m, down 84%; net banking income EUR 1.366bn, -29%; underlying net income EUR 105m, -81%; att. net profit EUR 69m. Net banking income beats consensus but gross op income falls below estimates. Notes net banking income (before the impact of the crisis) amounted to EUR 1.805bn, down 7% relative to a very demanding 2007 figure. Adds the ongoing cost-cutting plan is aimed at reducing the fixed cost base by 10% or EUR 400m looking ahead to 2009.

GERMANY

RWE Down EUR 0.32 to EUR 77.26... Quarterly core earnings miss expectations - Co. reported 1Q operating profit of EUR 2.5bn - down 10% y/y and worse than expected - on in-line quarterly sales of EUR 13.4bn. Confirms outlook for 2008.

DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Up EUR 0.03 to EUR 11.86... Buys 25% of Greece's OTE for EUR 3.2bn - reportedly.

INFINEON Up EUR 0.04 to EUR 6.81... Sistema interested (broker comment) in Co., especially in its R&D division, according to Handelsblatt. DZ Bank says it does not have the impression that the Russian group is seriously interested, and reckons even if it were to acquire a stake, it wouldn't get access to R&D.

ITALY

PARMALAT Down EUR 0.24 to EUR 1.94... Cheuvreux cuts target to EUR 2.54 from EUR 3.00, by moving core business valuation to 9x and following better top line trends in 1Q08, but disappointing margins. Recovery from 2Q, but lower guidance. Hence cuts EPS by 7-9%. Keeps outperform recommendation. Reports 18% drop in 1Q net profit to EUR 90.2m on sales 6.7% higher y/y at EUR 926.9m.

MONTE PASCHI Up EUR 0.02 to EUR 2.30... Reports 1Q net profit of EUR 190m - Co. has announced to have closed 1Q with net profit at EUR 190m, or EUR 375.1m including capital gains from the sale of Banca Depositaria. Explains that 1Q net income was affected by a EUR 62.9m writedown of its Hopa stake book value. Adds that cost income ratio increased to 60.7% while net interest income rose 14.9% to EUR 810.6m.

ERG Up EUR 0.36 to EUR 14.74... 1Q adj EBITDA of EUR 173m, up 53% - Co. has unveiled 1Q adj EBITDA of EUR 173m, up 53% while adjusted net profit rose 85% to EUR 39m. Co. said that it planned to invest more than EUR 2bn under an updated 2008-2011 business programme. Explains that more than 60% of the investments under the business plan will go for power production from thermoelectric and renewable sources.

NETHERLANDS

ASM INTL Down EUR 0.91 to EUR 16.78... Foundation exercises share option - The independent ASM Intl. Foundation has exercised a share option calling for the issue of 21,985 preference shares, representing 21.985m voting rights or up to 29.9% of Co.'s outstanding share capital. The move by the Foundation, established in 1997 to protect Co., is accompanied by changes in corporate governance to be phased in by 2010. It would seem the Foundation is keen to save CEO Chuck del Prado following calls for his departure from 15% stake holder and UK fund manager Hermes.

HEIJMANS Down EUR 5.02 to EUR 22.32... Issues fourth profit warning - Co. issues a statement saying FY08 profit after tax will be lower y/y, with operating result for Property Development Division NL expected to be 20-25% lower than in 2007. Sees FY08 profit after tax at EUR 50m vs EUR 56m y/y. Says disappointing 1Q results, combined with increasingly less favourable prospects for the housing market, have resulted in a downward adjustment of the profit forecast released in February. CEO Hoefsloot has decided to step down. ING says its bullish investment case is beyond hope and the broker is reviewing its EUR 32 target price.

NORDICS

MOELLER MAERSK Up DKK4700.00 to DKK58400.00... Net profit triples and beats consensus - Co.'s 1Q net profit nearly triples to US$1.1bn, or DKK5.2bn vs consensus estimate of DKK4bn amid soaring oil prices and increased container freight rates. Co. reiterates its FY08 guidance of sales at c.US$60bn and net profit at c.US$3.6bn-DKK4.0bn. Adds that it still considers divestment of non-strategic assets that could boost net profit by c.US$800m.

STORA ENSO Down EUR 0.01 to EUR 8.36... Shut-downs of Russia capacity may lie ahead - CEO Karvinen says Co. might have to shut down further capacity in Russia if export taxes increase to EUR 50, Dagens Industri reports.

ERICSSON Up SEK0.64 to SEK16.30... Nomura sees no margin improvements in 2008 - Co. will invest US$25bn over five years in research and development (R&D), it reviled at yesterday's CMD that continues in Stockholm today. Co. said it should be able to improve margins over time, however o specific targets were presented. 'It is clear that management do not really expect upgrades to improve margins this year', Nomura points out. Adds mobile data is still not nearly enough to force the operators to begin upgrading capacity. Says revenue growth is being hampered by the weakness of the US dollar that has masked a reasonably good development in emerging markets. Consequently, the broker notes, Co. continues to plan for a flattish outlook for the wireless infrastructure market.

SPAIN

INDRA Up EUR 0.26 to EUR 18.45... 1Q08 net profit tops forecasts - Co. announces 1Q08 sales up 11% y/y to EUR 581.7m, with order intake up 12% to EUR 837.8m. Says EBIT rose 25% to EUR 62.7m and margin improved 1.2pp to 10.8%. Net att. profit rose 25% to EUR 42.4m, ahead of forecasts.

CINTRA Up EUR 0.20 to EUR 10.49... Out of running for Pa. Turnpike - press - There is speculation that the consortium led by Macquarie and Co. has abandoned its bid for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, according to the Australian Financial Review. Says it is possible that Ferrovial, which owns Co., has other projects it wishes to pursue. Adds the remaining bidders are the Abertis consortium, including Babcock & Brown, and the Goldman Sachs-Transurban consortium. Meanwhile, Expansion reports that the bid submitted by Co.'s consortium was 10% below the best offer.

SWITZERLAND

ZURICH FINANCIAL Up CHF10.25 to CHF324.00... Shares higher after strong 1Q - Co. reports a 3% rise in 1Q net earnings to US$1.4bn, higher than expected. Business operating profit (BOP) was US$1.8bn, an increase of 1%. General Insurance gross written premiums and policy fees came in at US$11.2bn, up 10% or 2% in local currencies. Combined ratio of 94.6% is stronger than expected. A local broker says numbers are good quality.


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