Plus: Rio Tinto, Siemens, Air Liquide, and other European stocks making headlines Wednesday
BSKYB was up £0.31 to £7.03... fourth quarter net additions up 17%, Bear bullish - The company says fourth quarter net customer additions of 90,000, up 17% to 8.582 million; new customer additions 349,000, +20%; DTH churn 12.1% vs 13.7%, Sky+ households up by 207,000 to 2.374 million; Sky Broadband customers up by 259,000 to 716,000. Bear Stearns raises target to £8.20 from £6.80, keeps outperform, following strong KPIs. Believes that the company has reached an inflection point and these sub numbers add confidence to longer term forecasts and a four-year EPS CAGR of 25%.
BG PLC was up £0.19 to £8.40... Goldman Sachs upgrades to buy from sell, raises target to £9.10 from £6.80. Adds to Conviction Buy list. The broker says the changes follow to reflect the company 's sector-leading industrial positioning on decline rates, reserve backing and new legacy assets.
RIO TINTO (RTP) was up £0.95 to £40.00... Preparing bid for Alcan - press the company is poised to launch a US$34 billion (US$90 per share) takeover of Canada's Alcan, according to The Times. This follows Alcan confirming to the SEC yesterday that it was undertaking negotiations with other parties. The paper says sources close to Alcan have confirmed that this is the company
WHITBREAD was up £1.28 to £19.46... Credit Agricole holds 11.33% stake - According to a statement, Credit Agricole Chevreux International Ltd holds a 11.33% stake in the company Shares have been marked higher on talk US real estate giant Starwood Capital could bid at £24/sh. About 15.7 million shares have been traded in the company against the average 30-day volume of 2.52 million.
AIR LIQUIDE was up €2.15 to €98.99... KKR's bid rumour continues to boost share
VINCI was up €1.04 to €55.48... Zaleski and Pinault to act together? - La Tribune reported yesterday that Franco-Polish businessman Romain Zaleski has increased his stake in the company from 1% to 2% through a financial holding company he controls in Luxemburg. As Pinault currently owns 4.98% of Vinci, La Tribune suggests the two businessmen could potentially join their efforts on the company UBS believes it is too early to speculate about what Zaleski and Pinault may have in mind concerning their stakes in the company However, broker flags that the company trades on a relatively undemanding valuation after a 12% absolute fall in share price since May.
SAFRAN was up €0.13 to €18.30... first half sales beat consensus Reports first half sales of €5.733 billion, up 4.7% (up 9.3% like-for-like), above forecast.
HYPO REAL ESTATE GROUP was up €1.30 to €47.95... Management upgrades FY outlook - Based on initial estimates, the company will report net income before tax of c.€183 million during second quarter07. The company says the good result is mainly due to the exceptionally high new business of €10 billion in the second quarter07, which is reflected in considerably higher net commission income. Adds that with this positive development, the Management Board has raised its forecast for the fiscal 2007; consolidated net income before taxes is now expected to rise to more than €710 million (previous forecast: more than €680 million).
BAYER (BAY) was up €0.78 to €55.35... Merrill Lynch adds to Europe 1 List as it reinstates coverage with buy and €69 price target. In the broker's view, a combination of fundamental value, margin out-performance, pipeline catalysts and potential divestment of material sciences should continue to support further share price outperformance.
DAIMLERCHRYSLER (DCX) was down €1.06 to €67.36... Shares slip on talk of Chrysler financing problems - Reuters reports market talk of possible financing difficulties for the sale of the Chrysler division to Cerberus.
SIEMENS (SI) was down €1.36 to €107.10... To supply RWE with turbines in Wales - The company has been selected to supply RWE's British unit with 25 wind turbines for its Rhyl Flats offshore wind farm.
BANCA ITALEASE was up €0.19 to €17.27... Receives interest from several banks - The company is understood to be in alliance negotiations with several banks interested in investing in the business. The company says these approaches are on top of those from Goldman Sachs and Mediobanca.
AEM MILANO was up €0.01 to €2.63... Ready for an alliance with Iride, Hera and Enia - During a congress organised by Bocconi University, Renzo Capra, the company chairman, said he is ready for an alliance with Iride, Hera and Enia in order to create a major energy group in north-western Italy.
UNILEVER NV (UL) was up €0.63 to €24.12... Talk of Colgate interest - Independent - The Independent reports traders were now saying a US rival, Colgate-Palmolive, was the name in the frame for a tie-up with the company Adds reports of a private equity bid have receded, as a company with a market cap of more than £20 billion could prove too rich a taste with the current uncertainty surrounding the debt markets.
ACERGY was up NOK10.50 to NOK149.50... second quarter revenues beat expectations - The company 's second quarter revenues come in 18% higher year-over-year at US$634 million vs US$602 million forecast, net profit at US$52.1 million vs US$58 million forecast and EPS at US$0.26 vs US$0.30 forecast. Revenue expectations for fiscal 2007 are now expected to be in the range of US$2.7-$2.8 billion.
ASTRAZENECA (AZN) was up SEK9.00 to SEK366.50... Morgan Stanley upgrades to overweight from equalweight. Keeps target price of £31.50, implying an 18% upside, due to the compelling risk/reward. Calculates a 26% upside to bull case of £33.47 vs a 10% downside to bear case of £24.30.
TELEFONICA (TEF) was up €0.02 to €16.63... The brokers upbeat / PT not keen to sell Vivo - Ahead of the company 's second quarter results on 30 July, JP Morgan is upbeat and expects an upgrade to group guidance Bear Stearns says a key positive from a conference call with the company yesterday is that the company is making progress in Mexico. The company says churn is lower than at America Movil and margins are increasing The day after the FT reported that the company would make a €3 billion offer to buy out Portugal Telecom's stake in Vivo, Diario Economico reports that PT does not want to sell Vivo and America Movil are both interested in acquiring Brazilian mobile operator Telemig, reports Cinco Dias. The company says definitive proposals must be presented by July 16.
BANCO POPULAR was down €0.19 to €13.60... Approves TotalBank buy at US$300 million - The company 's administration board has agreed the acquisition of 100% of Florida's TotalBank for US$300 million. The company says payment will be entirely in cash.
ROCHE was down CHF1.80 to CHF216.50... Citigroup downgrades to hold from buy and cuts target price to CHF240 from CHF280. The company says the latest data points to a more cautious outlook on Avastin. The broker's consensus-leading Avastin forecasts have been reduced by 24% in 2012 to a more in-line CHF11 billion (16% group). Although first half results are likely to be strong, broker thinks the lack of meaningful catalysts through the second half makes further near-term material upgrades unlikely.