Eurofirst drops despite bids news

| September 14, 2006

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was not helped on Thursday by bids rumors in the banking and automobile manufacturing sectors. The Eurofirst dropped 0.1 percent to 1,369.27 as investors continued to worry about inflation in the United States.

There were more details concerning an anticipated bid by MAN to acquire Scania. It was rumored that the German truck maker would submit a largely cash bid worth around €9.5 billion for its Swedish rival. The key still seems to be convincing top Scania shareholders Volkswagen and Investor to support the deal, which some say could be announced as soon as Monday.

Scania B shares dropped slightly on the session, by 0.4 percent to SKr154, but Volkswagen added 0.9 percent to €64.83, Investor gained 2.3 percent to SKr154, and MAN was 5.1 percent higher to €63.19.

In other mergers and acquisitions news, it was said that Netherlands bank ABN Amro could soon receive a bid from Bank of America. Such rumors have circulated before, and some analysts did not give them much credence. However, shares in ABN Amro were up 1.3 percent to €22.39. Also in the banking sector, there was speculation that a merger between SEB and Nordea might be coming up. The talk sent Nordea 3 percent higher to SKr95.25, while SEB added 3.8 percent to SKr203.50.

Shares in companies that deal in luxury goods were mixed. On the strength of a positive trading statement that had sales up 16 percent in the first five months of its fiscal year, Richemont gained 2 percent to SFr59.90. Meanwhile, Hermes International added 3 percent to €67.70 even though its first half net profits weren’t quite up to analysts expectations. Italian jeweler Bulgari, on the other hand, dropped 2.6 percent to €9.86 after its most recent guidance was not as optimistic as had been hoped.


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