Plus more European stocks making headlines in Friday's section
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL Down GBP0.41 to GBP21.28... Nigeria demands US$2bn taxes from oil majors - Nigeria is demanding that Co. and ExxonMobil pay a combined total of almost US$2bn (GBP1bn) in unpaid taxes and revenues after a review of contracts covering huge offshore oilfields signed in the early 1990s, The FT reports.
VIVENDI Up EUR 0.12 to EUR 26.00... Morgan Stanley upgrades to equal weight from underweight and lifts target to EUR 31.70 from EUR 30.10. Says downside appears limited and that, in the context of the media sector, Co. is defensive with its 70% telco exposure, just 3% advertising revenue exposure and high percentage of subscription revenues. Adds that Co.'s guidance, before the impact of the Activision and Neuf Cegetel deals, is for net income growth of 8% - and believes it looks conservative.
ARCELOR-MITTAL Down EUR 1.00 to EUR 62.93... Goldman Sachs upgrades to buy / Cheuvreux lifts target - Goldman Sachs upgrades to buy and adds the stock to its Pan-Europe Conviction Buy List. Broker lifts target to EUR 84 from EUR 61. Says demand has continued to grow and the industry now faces a structural capacity deficit. As a result, GS expects steel prices to remain high, supported by input costs and high utilisation rates. Likes Co. based on its product mix, valuation and leverage to rising spot prices. Co. joins Salzgitter (also on the Conviction Buy List) as a top pick in broker's European steel coverage. Cheuvreux lifts target to EUR 90, keeps underperform.
SUEZ Down EUR 1.41 to EUR 44.38... Ends British Energy talks - Co. (with whom GDF is scheduled to merge by 2H08) has said in a statement that talks have ended with British Energy and that its focus is the merger with GDF. UK takeover law prevents Co. making any further move for British Energy until the merger with GDF is sealed.
POSTBANK Up EUR 1.68 to EUR 62.31... Allianz in joint bid talks with Commerzbank - according to the FT. The paper says Allianz has held detailed talks with Commerzbank about a bid for Co. but that no formal offer has been submitted.
HYPO REAL ESTATE GROUP Down EUR 0.02 to EUR 21.18... JC Flowers group publishes stake offer - An investor group coordinated by JC Flowers publishes details of its offer for a 24.9% stake in Co. The acceptance period begins today and ends on 23 June. The cash offer price amounts to EUR 22.50 per Co. share, which equals a total maximum consideration of approximately EUR 1.1bn, assuming full acceptance of the offer.
ENEL Down EUR 0.05 to EUR 7.17... Wins bid to develop gas storage site in Italy - press - Press suggests that Co. has won the bid to develop a 500 million cubic metre gas storage site at Romanengo, near Cremona. Credit Suisse starts coverage with underperform and keeps EUR 7.0 target price. Thinks Co.'s price weakness is unlikely to reverse in the short term. At current prices prefers Endesa and Acciona. Although assumes that all of Co.'s repowering projects succeed, nevertheless sees a decline in EBITDA by c.EUR 800m in 2013E vs. 2012E considering full auctioning of CO2 permits from 2013. Moody's has announced to have confirmed Co.'s 'A2' long-term senior unsecured rating, concluding a review for possible downgrade started in January 2008. Says the outlook is negative as Moody's expects Co.'s financial profile to remain 'somewhat weak for the rating category until at least the end of 2009'.
EUTELIA Down EUR 0.03 to EUR 1.54... Investigated for fiscal fraud - press - According to press reports, an investigation for fiscal fraud would be ongoing at Co. Co. denies.
RANDSTAD Up EUR 0.58 to EUR 27.80... Cheuvreux upgrades to selected list from outperform and raises target to EUR 40.00 from EUR 35.00. Notes stock is trading at lowest multiples in over 15 years.
VASTNED RETAIL Down EUR 4.67 to EUR 58.58... IEF cancels bid for Co. - IEF Capital has canceled its bid for Co. due to the weakened real-estate and financial market conditions.
ASML Down EUR 0.95 to EUR 18.17... UBS downgrades to neutral from buy but lifts target to EUR 20 from EUR 19. Continues to see Co. as a strong share gainer and see longer term upside. However, sees only a muted recovery in orders from 1Q08 trough levels, and broader uncertainty into CY09, leading to equally weighted risks to consensus.
PRISA Up EUR 0.19 to EUR 11.34... Mulling sale of Digital+ - Co. is considering selling some or all of Pay-TV business Digital Plus, according to press reports citing CEO Juan Luis Cebrian. Espirito Santo values Digital+ at EUR 3.482bn, and says its sale would allow Co. to reduce its net debt/EBITDA 2008E to 3x, a more sustainable long-term level.
ACCIONA Down EUR 1.00 to EUR 188.05... Cr. Suisse initiates with outperform and EUR 220 target. Expects Co. to post double-digit net income growth over 2008-12, with its renewable energy business a key driver. Adds the forthcoming agreement (3Q) on Co. and Endesa's renewables newco could be an opportunity for hidden value to surface, not only in terms of new capacity growth potential, but also raising the profile of Co.'s wind turbine manufacturing business.
ZURICH FINANCIAL Down CHF2.25 to CHF306.00... Ups New Business Value target by 40% - Co. announces today a revised New Business Value target for its Global Life segment of US$1.2bn by 2010. The new target, to be announced at an analyst presentation in Zurich, represents an increase of 40% over the previous target of US$850m. Says this reflects the proven financial and operating strengths Global Life has achieved over the past years, as well as its accelerated growth strategy.
SYNGENTA Down CHF4.75 to CHF315.25... Agreement with Monsanto on Corn, Soybean tech - Co. announced that it has reached a definitive agreement with Monsanto which settles all outstanding litigation relating to the two companies' global corn and soybean businesses.