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Mergers & acquisitions send Eurofirst higher

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by Elaine Frei

The European equities markets saw advances on Monday as the FTSE Eurofirst 300 gained 0.61 percent to 1,330.15. Mergers and acquisitions continued to be in the spotlight.

In the utilities sector, Suez, which agreed to merge with Gaz de France last week, was the target of rumors that it could be a takeover target for Italy’s Enel. Suez gained 4.6 percent to €32.64 on the news. Gaz de France was up 0.8 percent to €29.23. Enel dropped 0.2 percent to €6.887.

German engineering and industrial gasses company Linde saw an advance on the news that it has agreed to purchase the UK’s BOC Group for €11.6 billion ($14 billion). Linde was up 7.5 percent to €70.45 on the news and after West LB reinterated its “buy” recommendation and raised Linde’s target share price to €95 from €79. BOC fell a bit to £15.43.

The news that AT&T has plans to buy BellSouth in the United States led to consolidation expectations in the European telecommunications sector. Dutch telecom KPN was up 6.2 percent to €9.44. Telecom Italia was up 3.2 percent to €2.392. Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom advanced by 2.4 percent to €13.96 and France Telecom added 2.5 percent to €18.60.

Elsewhere, German steel and engineering group ThyssenKrupp gained 5 percent to €22.20 on the report that it is nearly ready to sell its automotive division in order to purchase Canadian steel maker Dofasco. The gain came even though ThyssenKrupp denied the report.

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News posted: March 6, 2006

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