Plus more European stocks making headlines in Friday's market
BRITISH ENERGY Up GBP0.49 to GBP7.11... EDF board approves bid for Co.- press - EDF received the go-ahead from its board to make an offer for 100% of Co., La Tribune reports. Adds that around 10 energy companies are potential bidders for Co., including Centrica and E.ON.
ASTRAZENECA (UK) Up GBP0.56 to GBP21.06... Morgan Stanley ups target to GBP22 from GBP21.50, keeps equalweight. Thinks the shares are likely to remain range-bound in the next 8-12 months given the Nexium court case is progressing very slowly and an 'at-risk' launch of Nexium is unlikely.
BOUYGUES Up EUR 1.67 to EUR 44.40... France may not award a fourth 3G license - France may abandon plans to award a fourth license for third-generation mobile-phone services, according to Dow Jones Newswires. France Telecom's Orange, Vivendi's SFR and Co.'s (+3.04%) Bouygues Telecom hold the three existing license for 3G services.
SUEZ Up EUR 0.86 to EUR 43.97... South Africa reissues tender for two power plants - Co. is interested in the South African market as the government plans to reissue a tender to build two power plants for about ZAR7bn (US$903m). Co. is `awaiting further contact' with the government. The government previously short-listed Co. and AES for the contract, before naming AES as the preferred bidder.
DEXIA Up EUR 0.21 to EUR 18.23... Says credit crunch limited impact on its 1Q accounts, once again pointing to its solid liquidity position.
FREENET Up EUR 1.20 to EUR 12.00... Back around the negotiating table with Drillisch - Co. and Drillisch have resumed talks over the takeover of the former's mobile phone business by the latter. United Internet is also involved in that talks.
KLOECKNER Up EUR 0.97 to EUR 34.72... Agrees to buy TEMTCO assets (broker comment) - Co. has entered into an agreement to acquire the operating assets of US-based distribution group Taylor Equipment & Machine Tool Corporation, which has some 180 staff and generated sales of about EUR 226m last year. JP Morgan lifts target to EUR 42 from EUR 36, reiterating overweight.
ALITALIA Deutsche Bank cuts target to EUR 0.01 from EUR 0.46 following recent share price declines and rising stock volatility. Believes that an administration situation is the most likely outcome for Co.'s equity in the absence of any more bids, but says cannot be definitive on this issue. -See broker, views & news- Italy. Co. has appointed Aristide Police as new chairman to replace Maurizio Prato. Earlier in the week, Prato resigned from his position as chairman and director. Italy's centre-left government aims to revive negotiations between Air France-KLM and Co.'s trade unions in an attempt to avoid the Italian carrier from going into administration. Shares suspended until 8 April when a key decision on whether to ask for protection from creditors will be made.
UNICREDIT Up EUR 0.04 to EUR 4.72... To sell 186 branches for EUR 747m - press - Il Sole 24 Ore reports that a group of 13 small Italian banks will acquire for EUR 747m the 186 branches that Co. put up for sale due to antitrust reasons. Adds that deal could be closed in the second half of April.
FORTIS Up EUR 0.07 to EUR 16.39... Looking for more alliances in Asia following its recent asset management deal with Pin An, according to press reports.
HEINEKEN Down EUR 0.47 to EUR 37.90... S&N acquisition to be completed on 28 Apr - Co. and Carlsberg said they expect to complete the acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle on 28 April after Co. won European antitrust approval to buy the selected S&N assets, with the exception of the Irish unit, which the Irish competition authorities will have to approve.
HANDELSBANKEN Down SEK2.50 to SEK179.00... Chair departs amid policy disagreement - Co. yesterday announced its chairman Lars Gronstedt will not stand for re-election. The resignation is seen a result of differences of opinion on international growth, as Gronstedt, former CEO, wanted to increase growth through acquisitions while current CEO Par Boman and other board members favours a more conservative strategy, Dagens Industri reports. Local media sees the departure as shift back to Co.'s old policy and away from Investment Banking.
NOKIAN RENKAAT Down EUR 1.61 to EUR 25.39... Strong order book - sees improved 2008 profits - Co. says its order book for 2008 is 'clearly higher than in the previous year', with 1Q sales up y/y. However 1Q sales are lower than 'in the other quarters of the year due to the normal seasonality', Co. says in a statement. For the full year, Co. expects strong growth in sales with improved profits.
IBERDROLA Up EUR 0.19 to EUR 9.95... La Caixa okays merger with Gas Natural - La Caixa, key shareholder in Gas Natural, has given the green light to a possible merger between the gas group and Co., ABC reports. Adds La Caixa wants clarity on regulatory issues.
TELEFONICA Up EUR 0.30 to EUR 19.22... Vivo buys 53.9% of Telemig - Co.'s Brazilian j/v Vivo has bought 53.9% of Telemig Celular for BRL1.163bn (c.EUR 429m). Vivo will also launch a bid for the remaining shares of Telemig Celular at 80% of the previous purchase price.
UBS Up CHF1.06 to CHF33.46... Ex-CEO pushes for break-up / Broker action - The WSJ reports that a former head of Co., Luqman Arnold, is pushing for a break-up of the bank in the wake of its US$38bn in write-downs over the past six months. On CNBC, however, he says he has not 'technically called for a break-up'. On the broker front, Landsbanki Kepler cuts target to CHF26 from CHF29, reiterating reduce. Sal Oppenheim cuts fair value to CHF40 from CHF61, reiterating neutral.
GIVAUDAN Up CHF12.00 to CHF1030.00... 1Q sales rise 18% to CHF1.05bn - in line with expectations.