European Movers: Aviva, Sanofi, Postbank

Plus more European stocks making headlines Friday


BIFFA was up £0.64 to £3.24... Montagu, HgCapital say offer rejected - Montagu Private Equity and HgCapital say they had approached the company on 4 September with a view to secure a recommendation for a cash offer but the proposal was rejected. Any offer, if made, would be at a significant premium to the share price immediately prior to the approach on 4 September, the statement adds.

VEDANTA was up £1.35 to £20.35... Indian court rejects proposal to mine bauxite - The Supreme court of India has rejected the company 's proposal to mine bauxite in eastern India, Reuters reports. The court has asked the company 's Indian unit Sterlite to float a new proposal for mining, the agency adds. Shares gain on talk that the Chinese state mining firm will bid at £27/sh before Chirstmas.

AVIVA was up £0.34 to £6.71... Best buying opportunity in the sector - Citigroup upgrades to buy from hold to reflect view that the shares look good value, given the return profile and the current price/ EV. Lowers target to £7.50 from £9.00 to reflect changes in sector valuation multiples and heightened risk from credit markets. In a sector note on UK Life Insurance, says the company is essentially a high-return company (15-16% returns) trading at embedded value. Adds that there is no obvious short-term catalyst but believes grinding out performance over time will likely challenge the markets churlish assumptions.

SCOTTISH & NEWCASTLE was up £0.08 to £7.32... Has robust case for taking control of BBH - the company says that Carlsberg's breaches of the shareholders' agreement will give it the right to acquire Carlsberg's shares in BBH at fair value. CEO John Dunsmore says is confident of the legal position, has a robust case for taking control of BBH. A Swedish court is likely to take until June or July to rule on the arbitration case brought by the company to try to force Carlsberg to sell its half of BBH, the company chief executive John Dunsmore tells Reuters. He added that there was no going back to the 50-50 arrangement with Carlsberg but that the company would accept Carlsberg as a minority shareholder in the consortium, the agency writes.


SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY) was up €1.24 to €62.63... Deutsche Bank's +ve sector note/China vaccine plans? - Deutsche Bank reaffirms its overweight stance on EU pharma, though based on valuation, not catalysts. the company is about to sign an agreement with Chinese authorities to build a vaccine plant in Shenzen next year, Reuters reports citing a source close to the company

CNP ASSURANCES was up €8.01 to €80.85... Interest from AXA - press/Cheuvreux reaction - AXA is making moves for the company , reports Les Echos. According to a source close to the matter quoted by the paper, 'there is an offensive from AXA on the subject, but no formal offer at this stage; the project is still a long way from being done.' Cheuvreux adds the company to its French selected list. The company says the company is trading at a discount to est. first half07 embedded value and a 10% discount over the est fiscal 2007 embedded

ALSTOM was up €6.89 to €147.36... Areva plot thickens - Germany's Siemens is 'ready' to increase its 34% stake in Areva NP, Areva's nuclear reactor arm, according to the German company's France president Philippe Carli quoted in Les Echos. Siemens would apparently be happy to spend 'several billion EUR'. However, the paper reports that Siemens would not be happy to share Areva's capital with its rival - the company There has been much market murmuring over recent months over a grand tie-up involving Areva, the company and Bouygues. The plot thickens as La Tribune carries a story this morning, citing a trade union source, suggesting French state-funded nuclear body CEA may reduce its 79% stake in the company


POSTBANK was up €2.34 to €58.86...

Commerzbank CEO says interested in the company - according to Bloomberg & Reuters. Merrill adds to most preferred list within its banking universe, along with BP Milano and DnB NOR.


ITALCEMENTI was up €0.53 to €13.43... Cheuvreux upgrades to outperform from underperform. The company says the company is resilient to a weaker market scenario, being strong in emerging markets, where it is better positioned than other players. As a result, does not expect any significant deterioration of fundamentals. Adds the company 's multiples are very attractive, with an average discount of more than 15%. Target price of €16.00 offers more than 20% upside.

INTERPUMP was up €0.16 to €7.10... Denies talks with private equity groups - the company has denied talks with any private equity groups. Il Sole 24 Ore wrote that a number of private equity groups could be interested in buying out the company Rumours suggested Carlyle as a possible candidate.


PHILIPS (PHG) was up €1.28 to €28.44... Parliament passes tax effective share buyback law - The Lower House of the Dutch Parliament passed the bill which effectively doubles the limit on the amount of tax-free share buybacks. The proposal now needs to pass in the Upper House. Merrill Lynch says this looks very likely. the company has a large amound of cash for share buybacks. In broker's view, the company 's fundamental investment case remains intact. The company says MedTech acquisitions could drive a rerating. Redeployment of capital into more attractive markets or via buybacks are possible. Adds the company has a compelling valuation on conservative forecasts. Wants to sell its Lighting unit in Winschoten, according to local press reports.


TRYGVESTA was up DKK12.50 to DKK384.50... third quarter pretax profit falls year-over-year - keeps FY guidance - the company reports third quarter results with gross earned premiums of DKK4.2 billion vs DKK4.071 billion year-over-year and pretax profit of DKK726 million vs DKK1.1 billion year-over-year. The combined ratio remained unchanged year-over-year at 83.7%. the company reiterates its fiscal pretax profit guidance of DKK3.1 billion.

VOLVO (VOLV) was down SEK0.25 to SEK102.50... October deliveries up 27% year-over-year - the company reports delivery figures for the period from January to October, says including Nissan Diesel total deliveries rose 2% year-over-year to 185,048 units (excluding - decreased by 13% year-over-year), in North America deliveries were down 57% year-over-year. For the same period European heavy-duty truck deliveries rose by 9% year-over-year.


BANKINTER was up €1.26 to €12.47... Credit Agricole seeks permission for 30% stake - France's Credit Agricole seeks Bank of Spain's regulatory approval to boost its stake in the company , possibly up to 30%.

IBERIA was down €0.06 to €3.20... TPG may withdraw from bidding - press - A consortium led by TPG Capital which includes British Airways, is considering withdrawing from the bidding for the company , Reuters writes, citing an unidentified source close to the situation. the company shouldn't be sold to foreign investors, Caja Madrid reportedly said yesterday. Caja Madrid agreed this week to buy the company shares from BBVA and Compania de Distribucion Integral Logista to increase its stake up to c.23%.


NOVARTIS (NVS) was up CHF2.00 to CHF62.10... Deutsche Bank reiterates as a top pick - Deutsche Bank has released a note reiterating an overweight on EU pharmas based on attractive valuations. The company says the company , Roche and AstraZeneca are its top picks. Separately, the company is to invest US$500 million to make vaccines in Brazil, Bloomberg reports. The company says the company plans to build a plant in the northeastern state of Pernambuco.

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