Plus more European stocks making headlines in Thursday's market
BRADFORD & BINGLEY Up GBP0.04 to GBP0.54... Shareholders approve rights issue 93% of votes were in favour.
BRITISH AIRWAYS Up GBP0.02 to GBP2.27... Agrees to j/v with American Airlines - American Airlines and Co. have agreed on their transcontinental j/v and now aim to add Spain's Iberia to the accord by the end of the month, the FT reports. Says the airlines are seeking antitrust approval immunity from US regulators, which will allow the new j/v co-ordinate schedules, fares and share revenue.
FRESNILLO Down GBP0.06 to GBP4.40... Silver and gold production in line - Says 1H silver and gold production was stable and fully in line with company expectations at 17.5m oz and 140,000 oz. Adds Fresnillo II and Soledad and Dipolos remain on schedule. Says average silver and gold prices for 1H reached historical records of US$17.40 per oz and US$911.40 per oz, respectively. Remains confident of achieving its 2008 production target levels.
MOTHERCARE Up GBP0.00 to GBP3.47... Dresdner cuts target to GBP3.70 from GBP4.00, keeps hold. Says sales have held up well in a tough environment, though trading has been volatile week to week. Says 1Q total sales rose 20.7% (+0.8% proforma); UK LFL up 1.0%.
SCHNEIDER Up EUR 4.05 to EUR 68.00... New ABB CEO doesn't rule out acquisitions - press - Switzerland's ABB has appointed Joseph M. Hogan as its new CEO. He is an outside candidate; currently he is CEO of GE Healthcare. Broker ZKB says the appointment is surprising and could cause some jitters that acquisitive growth could be forced. Indeed, Hogan is quoted by Bloomberg as not ruling out big acquisitions. Co. has long been talked of as a potential target of ABB's.
ESSILOR Down EUR 3.01 to EUR 32.87... 2Q sales miss estimates / S&P Eq Rch cuts tgt - keeps buy - 2Q sales came in at EUR 758.1m, up 2.3% vs. Bloomberg consensus of EUR 768m. S&P Equity Research cuts target to EUR 40 from EUR 44, keeps buy. Notes disappointing organic growth fx of 5.4% reflected a slowdown from 6.2% in 1Q to 4.6% in 2Q. Adds this falls within Co.'s historical 5-6% range but is below the more-than 8% achieved in 2006 and 2007.
ARCELOR-MITTAL Down EUR 0.99 to EUR 51.97... SocGen downgrades to sell from hold and cuts target to EUR 49 from EUR 59. Thinks Co. is heavily geared to steel spot prices (70% of sales), which are currently losing momentum. With the cycle peak now in sight, broker does not consider low valuation (i.e. forward PE of c.9.0x) as relevant. Broker is slashing sustainable margin assumptions to assess the worst-case scenario which broker considers the market should now apply.
FMC Down EUR 1.64 to EUR 33.54... 2Q net rises 17% but bond news weighs - Co. reported a 17% rise in 2Q net income to US$209m on quarterly revenue up 11% at US$2.67bn. Meanwhile, Fresenius SE said it plans to issue a bond exchangeable into FMC shares.
VW Down EUR 0.50 to EUR 187.40... Voting majority in Scania by 22 July - Co. says it expects to gain a voting majority in Sweden's Scania by 22 July.
AUTOGRILL Up EUR 0.57 to EUR 8.01... Sees scope to increase synergies of WDF and Aldeasa - Co. has said that sees scope to increase the merger synergies from the acquisitions of World Duty Free and a 50% in Aldeasa.
BP MILANO Up EUR 0.04 to EUR 6.12... Bank of Italy proposal to include board members cut - Co. has unveiled some of the Bank of Italy's proposals on governance changes such as a cut in the number of board members and a clearer division between the bank's board and management. The board is expected to meet by the end of August to discuss the corporate governance changes proposed by the Bank of Italy.
FORTIS Up EUR 0.67 to EUR 9.51... Takeover speculation rises - Co. could become a target, Financieele Dagblad reports, citing unnamed sources. Says the board at ING recently discussed if the company should acquire Co. or parts of it. Adds only Deutsche Bank and HSBC might be interested in parts of Co. but neither would not be interested in Assurance parts. Citigroup cuts target to EUR 11 from EUR 14.60, buy.
ASML Down EUR 0.23 to EUR 14.25... Suffers broker downgrades after 2Q - Following yesterday's 2Q results, Merrill Lynch downgrades to underperform from buy cuts target to EUR 12.1 from EUR 21. UBS cuts target to EUR 16.0 from EUR 17.0, keeps neutral. RBS downgrades to hold from buy. JP Morgan cuts target to EUR 16 from EUR 18, maintains neutral. Citigroup cuts target to EUR 25 from EUR 26, buy. SNS Securities cuts target to EUR 17 from EUR 17.50, keeps accumulate. Credit Suisse cuts target to EUR 17 from EUR 21, keeps outperform.
NOKIA Up EUR 1.24 to EUR 17.00... 2Q EPS up 12.5% y/y - Co. reports 2Q results with sales of EUR 13.2bn vs. a Reuters forecast of EUR 12.9bn, operating profit of EUR 1.474bn, operating margin of 14.7%, net profit of EUR 1.103bn and EPS of EUR 0.36 vs EUR 0.37. Reports devices unit EBIT margin of 20.1%, networks unit EBIT margin of 3.8%. Co. sold 122m phones vs a forecast of 119.6m with an average selling price of EUR 74 vs a forecast of EUR 77. Says cell phone market share is 40% in line with expectations.
SWEDBANK Up SEK10.50 to SEK120.00... 2Q EBIT above forecast - Co. reports 2Q results with NII of SEK5.3bn vs. a Reuters forecast of SEK5.24bn, net commission income of SEK2.37bn vs. SEK2.24bn, revenues of NOK9.43bn vs. SEK8.36bn, EBIT of SEK4.58bn vs. SEK3.46bn, net profit of SEK3.6bn vs. SEK2.68bn, loan losses of SEK432m vs. SEK480m and fair value result of SEK1.14bn vs. SEK382m. Co. says the new tier 1 capital target is at 8.5-9% under Basel 2. Adding that earnings at the Baltic operations remains strong and credit quality is still high.
ELECTROLUX Down SEK3.00 to SEK67.00... 2Q earnings top forecast - outlook weighs - 2Q core earnings top expectations with adjusted EBIT coming in at SEK793m on net sales at SEK25.6bn, also ahead of consensus forecasts. Co. says it expects an operating income for FY08 of SEK3.3bn-SEK3.9bn provided that the appliances market in Europe and the North America fall 1-2% and 5-8%, respectively. The figure is both lower than consensus of SEK3.9bn and compared to the SEK4.8bn achieved in 2007.
ENIRO Up SEK3.00 to SEK24.10... 2Q EBITDA ahead of forecast - Co. reports 2Q results with revenue of SEK1.678bn vs. a Reuters forecast of SEK1.688bn, EBITDA of SEK580m vs SEK509m and net income of SEK250m vs. SEK187m.
FORTUM Down EUR 1.18 to EUR 28.19... 2Q comparable EBIT up 35% y/y - Co. reports 2Q results with sales of EUR 1.322bn vs. a Reuters poll of EUR 1.194bn, EBIT of EUR 348m vs. EUR 381m, comparable EBIT of EUR 403m vs EUR 385m, PTP of EUR 310m vs. EUR 352m, and EPS of EUR 0.27 vs. EUR 0.29.
UNION FENOSA Up EUR 1.92 to EUR 13.60... ACS could sell stake / Goldman cuts ests - ACS says it considered selling its stake in Co. in order to strengthen the holding in Iberdrola. However, adds no deal has been reached. This follows a report in Expansion that ACS could sell its 45.3% stake in Co. The buyer would have had to launch a takeover bid on Co. as the stake is above the 30% limit. Goldman lowers target to EUR 14.20 from EUR 14.33, buy. Cuts 2008 EPS estimate to EUR 1.14 from EUR 1.22, and 2009 to EUR 1.17 from EUR 1.18. Says this reflects a slightly more conservative assumption for their gas business in 2008 as well as slightly lower load factors for coal and nuclear plants this year.
SANTANDER Up EUR 0.33 to EUR 11.39... May sell asset management unit - press - Co. has put its unit Santander Asset Management up for sale and is in talks with various international firms, particularly in the US, Cinco Dias reports. Says the unit is worth EUR 3bn.
PETROPLUS Up CHF3.92 to CHF42.52... Expects significantly better 2Q on a q/q as well as a y/y basis, Co. says.
NOVARTIS Up CHF0.50 to CHF57.95... 2Q net profit tops expectations - coming in at US$2.27bn, up 17% y/y, on quarterly sales of US$10.73bn, also ahead of the consensus forecast. Co. confirms its full-year forecasts.