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Plus more European stocks making headlines in Friday's market
ROYAL BANK SCOTLAND Up GBP0.07 to GBP2.41... PTP loss GBP691m in 1H, smaller than expected Announces 1H pro forma PTP loss of GBP691m, following credit market write-downs of GBP5.9bn; u/l profit of GPP5.1bn, -3%; adj EPS 21.3p, -10%. Says capital ratios are ahead of plan on a proportional consolidated basis: Core Tier 1 - 5.7%; Tier 1 - 8.6%; Total - 13.1%.
VODAFONE Down GBP0.01 to GBP1.38... Goldman downgrades to neutral from buy. Keeps GBP1.75 target. Removes from Pan-Europe Conviction Buy list. Notes Co. has a number of big capital items to fund this year, faces uncertain impact of competition from exclusive iPhone partners in a number of its larger markets and its emerging market exposure may be less of a benefit.
SCHRODERS Up GBP0.64 to GBP10.70... 1H FuM down, PTP misses estimate - Posts 1H PTP of GBP135.7m, -26.88%; FuM GBP130.2bn, -6.39%; interim DPS 10.0p, +11.1%. Analysts' forecast: PTP GBP140.4m, DPS 9.25p.
BG PLC Down GBP0.16 to GBP10.90... Material new discovery in Santos Basin - Co. announced a material new oil discovery in the pre-salt Santos Basin, offshore Brazil.
BRITISH AIRWAYS Up GBP0.14 to GBP2.69... Citigroup lifts target to GBP3.50 from GBP3.0 to reflect potential merger synergies with Iberia; updating estimates to incorporate US$120/bbl crude oil and latest results. Keeps buy. The Office of Fair Trading has charged four past and present executives with criminal price-fixing offence to set fuel surcharges in long-haul flights.
EADS Up EUR 1.32 to EUR 14.90... US$ hits 5-month high vs the EUR - The US$ hits a 5-month high vs the EUR following concerns about eurozone growth. A high EUR/US$ has been a major headache for Co. EUR/US$ is currently 1.51. United Airlines parent UAL has said in an SEC filing that it is 'highly unlikely' to take delivery of 42 A319 and A320 aircraft from Co.'s Airbus, Reuters reports. The airline is committed to paying US$2.2bn for the aircraft and would lose a US$91m deposit on cancellation. Meanwhile, Boeing has announced the first cancellation of an order for its delayed 787 Dreamliner, which media reports suggest indicates a certain level of impatience among airlines for deliveries of the new, fuel efficient plane.
BOUYGUES Up EUR 1.62 to EUR 44.54... Goldman Sachs adds to Conviction Buy List and lifts target to EUR 58.70 from EUR 61.70. Sees Co. as a high quality, undervalued asset with interesting growth opportunities in its specialty areas vs the telecoms sector average, and a record for prudence in investment and value creation. GS upgrades estimates for TF1 and Alstom, leading it increase its FY08 EPS forecast by 2.2% to EUR 4.58; 2009 by 5.8% to EUR 4.75; and 2010 by 6.9% to EUR 4.68. Ahead of 1H sales on Monday after the close, Natixis looks for total sales of EUR 15.056bn vs a consensus of EUR 15.023bn.
SANOFI-AVENTIS Up EUR 1.92 to EUR 48.46... RBS upgrades to buy / FDA Multaq move - RBS upgrades to buy from hold and lifts target to EUR 54 from EUR 52. Thinks generic erosion of EU Plavix sales may be less (c.10% of sales p.a.) than the market fears. Notes generic Lovenox in the US seems slow to materialise. Sees signs of a realistic approach in R&D. Broker raises its FY08-10 EPS estimates by 1-7%. In other news, Co.'s Multaq drug has been given priority review status by the US FDA, Reuters reports.
AXA Up EUR 0.88 to EUR 22.24... Merrill Lynch upgrades to buy / Brokers lift targets - Merrill Lynch upgrades to buy from neutral and lifts target to EUR 25 from EUR 23 following 'encouraging' 1H results. Deutsche Bank lifts target to EUR 27.50 from EUR 25.30, keeps buy. Although shares rose 5% yesterday, broker's earnings forecast is up 6%. Argues Co. is a top quality quality franchise with a 'bullet proof balance sheet' trading at a discount to sector. Cheuvreux ups target to EUR 22, keeps underperform. Says Co. removed all concerns regarding its balance sheet at 2Q. With assurance on balance sheet, argues Co.'s qualities of the group (higher growth, sustained margin) becomes more visible.
MTU Up EUR 2.76 to EUR 23.70... Boersenbrief takeover talk buoys stock - The newsletter reckons Co. could, following Epcos's takeover, be the next in line, though it reckons only the turbine technology division may be purchaseable.
CONERGY Up EUR 0.73 to EUR 9.90... Stock higher post interim results - Co.'s 1H sales rose 87% to EUR 582m. The half year ended with a net loss of EUR 59m. The 2Q EBIT loss of EUR 7m is not as deep in the red as was feared. Co. has cancelled its 2008 outlook due to its capital increase.
TELECOM ITALIA Up EUR 0.03 to EUR 1.14... Discloses 1H net profit of EUR 1.14bn - Co. unveils 1H net profit of EUR 1.14bn (vs. a Reuters consensus of EUR 983m. Says that revenues came in at EUR 14.84bn (vs. cons of EUR 14.87bn) while 1H EBITDA was at EUR 5.54bn. Regarding the outlook, Co. has confirmed its domestic targets while reviews the ones for its Brazilian mobile unit. Points out that the outlook is susceptible of risks and uncertainties. For FY08, cuts sales and EBITDA margins slightly. Sees 2008 sales between EUR 30.4bn and EUR 30.5bn (from EUR 31bn previous target) and FY08 EBITDA margin at 38% (from a previous target of 38.5%). Shares are suspended.
CAMPARI Up EUR 0.37 to EUR 5.94... Reports 1H net profit of EUR 59.8m - Co. has posted 1H08 sales of EUR 431.2m (down 2.1%), reporting an organic sales growth of 3.0%. Says that EBITDA before one-off's came in at EUR 100.4m, (down 2.0%). Says that EBIT before one-off's was at EUR 90.8m (-2.1%). Discloses net profit of EUR 59.8m, up 5.1%.
REED ELSEVIER NV Up EUR 0.48 to EUR 11.24... 11 Aug is deadline for bids for unit - DJ - Co.'s deadline for receiving bids for its Business Information unit is on 11 August, Dow Jones reports. Says interested bidders include Cinven, TPG, Bain Capital and Apax Partners Worldwide.
AKER YARDS Down NOK1.50 to NOK62.75... 2Q EBITDA below forecast - cuts outlook - Co. reports EBITDA of NOK72m, below forecast. Cuts its 2008 EBITDA margin guidance to 2-3% vs a previous forecast of 3-4%. Co. also says it has signed a EUR 360m contact to build two large car-passenger ferries for P&O Ferries. The vessels will operate on the Dover-Calais service and are due for delivery in 2010 and 2011.
FINNAIR Down EUR 0.39 to EUR 5.31... 2Q PTP falls less than forecast - Co. discloses 2Q PTP of EUR 19.1m vs EUR34m y/y and EUR 9m seen in a Reuters poll, and sales of EUR 546m vs EUR 651m forecast. Says 2H operational result may be negative, with fuel cost seen rising to 28% of turnover.
NORSKE SKOG Up NOK3.70 to NOK27.20... Credit Suisse upgrades to neutral vs underperform, while keeping target unchanged at NOK23.50. Argues the worst is behind for Co., noting newsprint markets outside Europe are recovering and import pressures in Europe are easing. Points out that European newsprint supply/demand is tightening as a result of capacity closures, in spite of weak demand. Argues, however, to restore acceptable profitability and financial stability more need to change. Adds that it sees structurally declining newsprint demand in Europe as a major long term challenge for Co.
FERROVIAL Up EUR 0.88 to EUR 34.95... Ryanair eyeing EUR 2bn bid for Stanstead - Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary is interested in launching a EUR 2bn bid for Stansted airport and proving to Co.'s BAA unit and the regulators that he can run it much better than they can, The Daily Telegraph writes. Says O'Leary said acquiring Stansted was one of his two main ambitions before he bows out as chief executive of Ryanair.
ABENGOA Up EUR 0.73 to EUR 17.82... Receives EUR 280m loan for solar power plants - Co. will receive a EUR 280m loan to fund the construction of four solar power plants.
UBS Up CHF0.26 to CHF22.00... Reaches settlement on ARS charges - reports - A US$19.4bn agreement was reportedly reached with US regulators to settle charges that the Swiss banking group misled investors into buying auction-rate securities that were far riskier than advertised. Co. has also agreed to pay US$150m in fines, according to various reports that were citing Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.
RICHEMONT Up CHF2.10 to CHF64.10... To focus on luxury goods / Broker action - Co. is proceeding with a restructuring of its businesses to create a focused luxury goods business and a separately-listed investment vehicle. The restructuring will result in the distribution of 90% of Richemont's interest in BAT to its shareholders. Remgro has also announced proposals for the distribution of 90% of its interest in BAT. The restructuring addresses the changes to tax legislation in Luxembourg. In broker action, Credit Suisse assumes coverage with outperform and CHF77 target price. Says BAT demerger should narrow valuation discount of Co.'s luxury stub vs peers like LVMH.