Plus more European stocks making headlines in Wednesday's market
ANTOFAGASTA Up GBP0.20 to GBP8.03... 1Q payable copper shipments fall - Co. says 1Q copper production was 114,600 tonnes, +7.1%; cash costs US$0.722/pound compared vs US$0.316/pound in FY07. Adds molybdenum production at Los Pelambres was 1,800 tonnes, below 2007 quarterly average but in line with YTD forecast. Says shipments of payable copper were 65,800 tonnes, 13,300 tonnes lower than production.
BG PLC Down GBP0.76 to GBP12.32... 1Q profit surges on high oil price, LNG show - Posts 1Q net profit of GBP789m, +76% on increased production, higher commodity prices and strong LNG performance. Adds total operating profit GBP1.402bn, +70%; E&P operating profit GBP942m; LNG operating profit GBP395m; EPS 23.6p, +80%; production volume 60.7m boe, +4%. Analysts had forecast net income GBP685m, operating profit GBP1.171bn and EPS of 19.4p. Co. says has approached Australia's Origin Energy Limited with a AUD14.70/share cash offer. Adds Origin has not yet considered the proposal.
BSKYB Up GBP0.04 to GBP5.45... 3Q in line, will take a look at Tiscali - Co. posts 3Q net customer growth of 56,000; churn 10.5%; new customer additions 289,000; revenue GBP3.706bn, +10%. Adds 9M adjusted op profit GBP521m; 9M adjusted EPS 17.0p; ARPU GBP424. Says revenue growth of 10%, increased quarterly profitability and reducing broadband losses put Co. on track to achieve targets. Analysts had forecast 3Q revenues of GBP1.260bn; net customers 60,000; churn 10.9% new customer additions 305,000; 9M revenue of GBP3.72bn and 9M adj op profit of GBP518m. Also, Co. will take a look at Tiscali, CEO Jeremy Darroch has told Reuters.
HOME RETAIL Up GBP0.21 to GBP2.64... FY results in line - Co. reports FY sales of GBP5.985bn, +2.3%; Argos LFL +0.7%; Homebase -4.1%. Says gross margin at Argos rose some 50bp; Homebase up 250bp. Says benchmark op profit was GBP398m, +11%; reported op profit GBP387m; benchmark PTP GBP433m, +15%(reported GBP426m); benchmark EPS 33.9p, +16%. Declares final div of 10p. Says we head into a weakening consumer environment.
KAZAKHMYS Down GBP0.66 to GBP15.82... 1Q copper cathode output down 18.43% - Posts 1Q copper cathode output 84,100 tonnes, -18.43% y/y; Ore output at 8.3m tonnes, +7% q/q; Zinc in concentrate output +6% q/q; gold production was -2% q/q. Says outlook for production in 2008 remains in line with the guidance given at the time of FY07 results.
ADMIRAL Up GBP0.51 to GBP8.71... Citigroup upgrades to buy from hold, target GBP10.50. Highlights management's intention to 'deliver another record year, at least in line with market consensus' points to GBP194m for 2008. In addition, thinks Co. is growing throught the gloom, noting that by year-end, Co. will have entered three new markets.
VEDANTA Down GBP1.09 to GBP22.41... Merrill Lynch removes from Europe 1 list.
ALCATEL-LUCENT Down EUR 0.16 to EUR 4.33... Trims guidance after quarterly loss - Co. reported a 1Q net loss of EUR 181m and downgraded its guidance by saying it sees the market in 2008 to be flat rather than slightly up to flat, as previously forecast.
ALSTOM Up EUR 3.25 to EUR 149.00... Areva stake talk / JP Morgan lifts target - Co. could yet be inline for a stake in French state-owned nuclear group Areva, Reuters reports citing a source close to discussions on the matter in Tunisia accompanying President Nicolas Sarkozy. Co. CEO Patrick Kron has talked openly of his interest, though Areva's CEO Anne Lauvergeon has been equally candid in opposing any such move. JP Morgan ups target to EUR 167 from EUR 160, keeps neutral. Argues Co. is an attractive growth story but that unless results trigger material earnings upgrades, near term upside may be limited due to its valuation on 13x est. FY09 EV/EBITA.
PERNOD RICARD Up EUR 0.47 to EUR 74.00... 3Q sales miss consensus estimates - Reports 3Q sales of EUR 1.378bn, -1%, (+7.1% organic). Says 9M sales rose to EUR 5.091bn, +9.3% organic. Confirms FY08 guidance for LFL growth in operating profit from ordinary activities of at least 12%.
SIEMENS Up EUR 2.18 to EUR 75.57... Fiscal 2Q core earnings top expectations - Co. posted a sharper-than-expected 67% slide in fiscal 2Q net income to EUR 412m due to discontinued operations and project delays. Quarterly sales up 2% y/y at EUR 18.1bn is also lower than expected. Order intake of EUR 23.4bn, however, tops the consensus view, as does operating profit of EUR 1.2bn. For the full year, Co. expects group profit from operations and income from continuing operations to remain flat. It is more optimistic on the revenues front.
SAP Down EUR 0.66 to EUR 32.39... Quarterly update disappoints - with revenues from software licences and related services up a lower-than-expected 15% to EUR 1.74bn. A 20% rise was expected. All in all, weak US sales and the negative outlook for Co.'s new midmarket product Business ByDesign is another disappointment.
TOGNUM Up EUR 0.65 to EUR 18.50... Daimler to acquire 22.3% equity interest in Co., allowing it to protect its long-term supply relations with Co. The purchase price is approximately EUR 585m, making Daimler the largest shareholder in Co.
BANCO POPOLARE Up EUR 0.21 to EUR 12.78... Cheuvreux lifts target to EUR 12.00 from EUR 11, following the new combination between Agos and Ducato which retains as good news. Calculates 50 bps impact to core tier 1, ahead of estimates. Keeps underperform rating as the Italease issue remains. Co. and France's Credit Agricole have decided to combine their units Ducato and Agos in a move to create Italy's largest consumer credit group.
SARAS Down EUR 0.02 to EUR 3.68... JP Morgan downgrades to neutral from overweight, after a 17% outperformance following the announcement of a share buyback programme, but continues to see the stock as a good, lowrisk way to play the distillate story in 2008. Regarding sector, lowers forecasts for new refining margin and crude price assumptions and operational issues. Lowers EPS estimates by an ave. 17% for FY08-FY10. Chairman Gian Marco Moratti has told in an interview with Il sole 24 Ore that Co. aims to make 'an important acquisition' that would strengthen its core business and in an area like the Mediterranean or the English Channel. Moratti also said that Co. sees investments during its 2006-2009 business plan period increasing to EUR 800m, from an initially planned EUR 600m, because of market demand.
REED ELSEVIER NV Up EUR 0.45 to EUR 12.17... US FTC extends ChoicePoint deal review - The US Federal Trade Commission has extended its review of Co.'s US$4.1bn buy of ChoicePoint, according to the US company. Adds the FTC has requested for additional information regarding the proposed merger between the companies. The two companies have also been notified of parallel reviews by the attorneys general of certain states.
STOREBRAND Up NOK6.95 to NOK48.45... 1Q boosted after law change - 1Q group profit comes in at NOK535m vs a loss of NOK71m seen in a Reuters poll, life insurance profit at NOK448m vs NOK21m est, asset management profit at NOIK48m vs NOK26m est, banking profit at NOK51m vs NOK46m est. Says the results got a positive boost after implementation of a new insurance act, with life insurance alone benefiting NOK200m following the new legislation.
NOVO NORDISK Up DKK17.50 to DKK329.00... Ups op. profit outlook excluding one-offs - Raises underlying op. profit guidance Co. raises outlook for FY08 operating profit growth in local currencies, excluding one-offs, to close to 25% vs 20% previously, with sales growth now expected at 10-13% from 10% before. Meanwhile, Co. trims outlook for operating profit in local currencies, including one-offs. 1Q EBIT beats expectations, coming in at DKK2.8bn, on sales of DKK10.6bn vs DKK10.4bn est. 1Q modern insulin sales at DKK3.8bn vs DKK3.7bn est, human insulin sales at DKK2.9bn vs DKK3.4bn est and 1Q Novoseven sales at DKK1.4bn vs DKK1.5bn est.
S-E BANKEN Down SEK6.50 to SEK145.50... Costs 2% higher than est - sees signs of slowdown - Co. reports 1Q NII of SEK4.22bn vs a Reuters poll of SEK4.21bn, commission income of SEK3.80bn vs SEK3.99bn, EBIT of SEK2.41bn vs SEK2.53bn, fair loss of SEK161m vs SEK253m, total costs of SEK6.03bn vs SEK5.83bn, loan losses of SEK368m vs SEK384m, and market-to-market losses in fixed income portfolio of SEK872m in P&L and SEK1.63bn in equity. Costs came in 2% higher than anticipated, due to investment growth, IT infrastructure and increased pension expenses, Co says. Sees signs of real economy to be affected due to market turmoil.
DANSKE BANK Up DKK3.00 to DKK165.75... Sampo integration costs / Deutsche downgrades - According to Finnish broadcaster Yle, CEO Peter Straarup says that the integration of Sampo Bank into its computer system will cost more than expected. Saying that the figure could be up to DKK500m. Adds that in the last month Sampo Bank has lost over 5,000 customers due to issues with the computer system and that the amount spent on waiving customer fees to placate inconvenienced Finnish customers would exceed EUR 10m. As an apology Co. says it would cancel private customer services fees for Jun-Sept.
BME Up EUR 1.90 to EUR 32.25... 1Q08 results beat forecasts - Co. reports 1Q08 revenues of EUR 99.59m, operating costs of EUR 23.83m, EBITDA of EUR 75.8m and net profit of EUR 55.43m. Numbers are above Reuters consensus expectations.
REPSOL YPF Down EUR 0.05 to EUR 26.04... YPF listing may be delayed - website - The listing of 20% of YPF may have to be delayed to the second half of the year, BolsaCinco reports. Notes the listing was due to take place in June, but market conditions are unfavourable at the moment. Co. has said that a group of union leaders has occupied a plant in southern Argentina.
CLARIANT Up CHF1.85 to CHF11.42... Shares jump as 1Q op. margin improves - Co.'s 1Q net profit halves coming in at CHF41m as higher raw material costs weighed. The number met a Reuters consensus. CEO Jan Secher commented that the measures initiated to improve operational performance have started to show a positive impact. The operating margin before exceptionals rises to 7.9% from 7.1% in 1Q07.
PETROPLUS Down CHF1.15 to CHF64.85... JP Morgan downgrades to underweight from neutral and cuts target price to CHF64 from CHF78. Broker expects a weak quarter from Co. in 1Q08 as high NWE distillate margins were offset by weak gasoline and fuel oil cracks and high crude costs. As in the previous two quarters, thinks headline profits will include large inventory gains which must be stripped out to give an underlying figure comparable with the peer group.