Avis, Berkeley Group, BG, BP, BT, BHP Billiton: U.K., Irish Equity Preview

The following is a list of companies whose shares may have unusual price changes in U.K. and Irish markets. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are from the last market close.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index fell 78.29, or 1.5 percent, to 5,100.23. The FTSE All-Share Index declined 1.5 percent and Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.8 percent.

Avis Europe Plc (AVE LN): The company announced a rights offering to raise approximately 151 million pounds (226 million). The stock fell 0.5 pence, or 1.4 percent, to 34.75.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BLT LN): Australia’s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard is still likely to introduce a tax on resources profits following negotiations with mining companies over the levy that helped the premier oust her predecessor, Morgan Stanley said.

Gillard was closely connected to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s policy decisions, which allows little prospect for a big change, Morgan Stanley strategist Gerard Minack said in a telephone interview from Sydney. BHP and Rio Tinto Group (RIO LN) slid in Sydney trading on speculation Gillard will pursue the tax.

BHP fell 31 pence, or 1.6 percent, to 1,920 and Rio Tinto lost 3.2 percent to 3,282 pence.

Berkeley Group Holdings Plc (BKG LN): The U.K. homebuilder with the highest selling prices said its net income for fiscal 2010 dropped to 79.7 million pounds from 86.1 million pounds a year earlier. The average estimate from a Bloomberg survey of five analysts was for profit of about 75 million pounds. The shares rose 3.5 pence, 0.4 percent, to 800 pence.

BG Group Plc (BG/ LN): The company said it won approval for an Australian liquefied natural gas project that may cost A$15 billion ($13 billion) after the Queensland government completed a review of the environmental impact statement.

Australian federal government environmental approval is expected by about mid-year, said QGC Pty Ltd., the Australian unit of BG Group. The shares lost 29.5 pence, or 2.7 percent, to 1,063.

BP Plc (BP/ LN): The company said the cost of the response to date of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has reached about $2.35 billion. The shares lost 8.25 pence, or 2.5 percent, to 325.25.

BT Group Plc (BT/A LN): Nomura Holdings Inc. downgraded the phone company’s shares to “reduce” from “neutral.” The stock fell 3.3 pence, or 2.4 percent, to 132.

HMV Group Plc (HMV LN): Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation for the music and video retailer to “equal weight” from “underweight.” The shares fell 0.75 pence, or 1.3 percent, to 57.75 pence.

Keller Group Plc (KLR LN): The company building the foundations of the main stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games said there has been no recent change in trading conditions and the British company still expects annual results to be within the range of analysts’s estimates. The stock fell 3 pence, or 0.5 percent, to 550 pence.

Stagecoach Group Plc (SGC LN): The operator of the U.K.’s busiest commuter-rail service was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank AG. The shares fell 0.2 percent to 190.4 pence.

Unilever Plc (ULVR LN): PT Sara Lee Body Care Indonesia said today shareholders approved a plan by Unilever Indonesia Holding BV to acquire an 89 percent stake in the company.

The acquisition is part of Unilever’s global takeover of Sara Lee Corp.’s body-care division, the company said in a faxed statement today. The shares lost 29 pence, or 1.6 percent, to 1,829.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Martin in London bmartin38@bloomberg.net. Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net.

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