On the Move: VW, Swisscom, Soc Gen

Plus: ABN Amro, Acambis, Alitalia, and other European companies making headlines Monday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope


SOC GEN was down €0.10 to €101.80. The company said it has completed the purchase of Russian building society DeltaCredit Bank, for about US$100 million in a deal that was originally announced in the summer. DeltaCredit Bank has a staff of 140 and manages a portfolio of loans worth about US$200 million.

SAINT GOBAIN was up €0.39 to €49.28. UK packaging group Rexam is considering a bid of more than £3 billion for the company 's glass bottles business, The Daily Telegraph reported. The newspaper noted that the company is considering a sale of the division to help finance its recently agreed £3.9 billion acquisition of BPB.

EADS was up €0.01 to €30.98. Airbus extended its presence in China as East Star Airlines placed an order worth US$1.5 billion for 20 units of its A320. Meanwhile, Taiwan's EVA Airways is in negotiations with Airbus as it seeks to expand to meet rising travel demand, reported Bloomberg.


MAN was up €0.08 to €42.23. The company is unlikely to win the bidding battle for DaimlerChrysler's (DCX ) diesel engine making division MTU Friedrichshafen, Reuters said, citing unidentified people close to the talks.

VW was up €0.10 to €44.00. The company 's Spanish unit Seat reportedly plans to invest €700 million through 2008 on product development as well as on improving quality and efficiency.

INFINEON was up €0.02 to €7.89. The company expects to post a profit in its smart card chip unit by the fourth quarter of 2006, FAZ reported. In addition, it may buy a Japanese auto- or industrial electronics group after the sale of its memory business, CEO Ziebert told Boersen-Zeitung over the weekend. He reiterated that an IPO is the preferred exit option.

DEUTSCHE TELEKOM (DT )was down €0.15 to €14.25... The company's T-Online division is bidding for Bundesliga rights to broadcast three seasons of domestic football league matches live over the Internet. On the broker front, Lehman Brothers removed the company from its Recommended Portfolio.


UNICREDIT was up €0.03 to €5.38. DrKW upped its target to €6.90 from €5.60 and rated the stock a buy. Separately, the company owns 7.9% of Munich Re after the takeover of HVB, the German reinsurer said.

ALITALIA was unchanged at €.98. KLM would support the merging of the company into the Air France-KLM group (AKH ) when the company 's restructuring plan is completed, La Repubblica reported. Air France's CEO has repeatedly emphasized the need for the company to improve its finances beforehand.


ATLAS COPCO was up SEK3.00 to SEK164.50. The company has received a SEK95 million order for specialized compressors from Korea's Hyundai Engineering and Construction. The company said the deal further improves its position in the fuel gas booster market.


SWISSCOM (SCM ) was down CHF10.50 to CHF406.50. The FT reported that CEO Jens Adler might resign following Friday's surprising announcement that the government will block takeover attempts. Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to sell from hold and cut its target to CHF355 from CHF400, arguing that the government has effectively issued a vote of no confidence in management which could lead to increased corporate governance interference.

CLARIANT was up CHF0.30 to CHF18.05. CSFB upgraded the company to outperform from neutral and lifted its target to CHF21 from CHF20. The broker said that following a year in which the company 's shares have underperformed the wider European Chemicals sector by 25%, it now believes the outlook for 2006 is much improved with higher volumes and favorable exchange rates.

ACTELION was down CHF17.60 to CHF127.40. Goldman Sachs noted that the BUILD-1 and BUILD-2 studies (Tracleer in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and scleroderma-related pulmonary fibrosis) missed their primary end-points of an improvement in 6-minute walk tests. The broker cut its fair value to CHF180 from CHF 211. Sarasin downgraded the stock to neutral from buy.

United Kingdom

VODAFONE (VOD ) was down £0.02 to £1.26. Lehman cut the telecom from its recommended portfolio explaining that the move follows the reallocation of Telecom exposure.

GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK ) was down £0.06 to £14.36. Lehman upped its target price to £16.70 from £15.20, and kept its overweight rating. The broker said the impact of major patent expiries has now washed through and 2006 is set to be a year of strong sales and earnings growth.


) was down £0.08 to £26.73. Lehman cut its rating to underweight from equalweight points to patent risks, limited pipeline opportunities and below-average earnings growth. The broker said its hopes for incremental cost cutting have faded and the company trades on unwarranted premium. Despite this it upped its target price to £26.40 from £26.00.

BARCLAYS (BCS ) was down £0.02 to £6.02. SocGen noted that the stock has underperformed the FTSE All Share and the European bank sector by about 15% year to date, despite the recent rally. The broker remains concerned by its reliance on Barclays Capital for growth. It's unconvinced by the company 's restructuring story. However, it sees the short-term risks over the trading statement period as more balanced (strong corporate vs. further retail deterioration). The broker rated the stock a sell and called it the least preferred stock in the European banking sector.

P&O was down £0.04 to £4.34. The company is expected to receive a firm takeover offer of more than £3 billion as early as Tuesday, from a Middle East-based buyer, The Guardian reported. The newspaper said Dubai Ports World has been in talks with the company since October 30 when it said it had received an approach from an unnamed suitor.

ACAMBIS (ACAM ) was up £0.04 to £2.11. The pharmaceutical started a phase I clinical trial of a vaccine against clostridium difficile, a common hospital-acquired infection. The company is the only one with a vaccine in clinical development.

DE VERE was down £0.10 to £6.29. Permira, the private-equity group that owns the Travelodge budget-hotel chain, is one of two mystery suitors that have made takeover approaches to the company, The Sunday Times wrote.


ABN AMRO (ABN ) was up €0.06 to €21.06. The company 's ABN Amro Capital France bought Sante & Nutrition unit from Novartis (NVS ) for approximately €220 million on a cash and debt free basis. The transaction, which requires customary regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2006. Separately, Cheuvreux raised its target to €24 from €22 and maintains its outperform rating.

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (NL)(RDS.A ) was down €0.43 to €26.37. The oil giant announced the start of crude oil production from the Bonga deepwater oil and gas field, 120 kilometers off Nigeria. The target is to attain the current nameplate production of 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day as soon as possible. Separately, oil prices eased on expectations that winter temperatures will not be as harsh as expected.

Prepared by Zaida Espana, Valerie Vidal, Michael Sanderson, Mariella Mongio, Alexander Wisch, Holly Cook, Emma Stevenson, Pawan Girglani, Julien Manrique, and Rocio Opazo-Aniotz (Standard & Poor's); Alex Halperin (BusinessWeek Online)

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