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Sunday 09th of January 2011
September 26, 2006    

Utilities up in Europe

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by Elaine Frei

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was 1.4 percent higher on Tuesday to 1,389.25, its highest close in over four months. Mergers and acquisitions again furnished most of the action, joined by gains in the oil sector after crude oil prices rose a bit overnight.

The proposed Scania/MAN merger again made news as Volkswagen, the largest shareholder in Scania, came out against the deal. VW’s chief executive criticized the proposed deal and suggested an alternative one which would involve not only MAN and Scania, but VW’s Brazilian truck business as well. When all was said and done, Scania and Investor, it’s second largest shareholder were lower on the session, but both VW and MAN saw gains.

Investor dropped 1.3 percent to SKr152.50, while Scania’s A shares were 6.2 percent lower and the Swedish truck maker’s B shares declined 7.8 percent to SKr432 and SKr421.50 respectively. Volkswagen added 1 percent to €66.65, while MAN was 1.4 percent higher to €62.55.

In the utilities sector, meanwhile, Acciona purchased 10 percent of Endsea on Monday and said that it might make a further purchase. This move put the Endsea/Eon merger in question, which has been in the works since the beginning of the year, when Eon bid €27 billion in cash for Endsea. Also affecting the merger was a ruling from the European Commission which held that Spain had violated EU in certain conditions it put on Eon’s acquisition of Endsea.

While Eon said that the ruling strengthened its determination to pursue the deal, the German utility’s shares dropped 2 percent to €94.09. Acciona added 5.1 percent to €117.35, while Endsea gained 10.5 percent to €32.50. Elsewhere, Gas Natural was up 5.6 percent to €28.66 as it repeated its own hope to buy Endsea.

In the oil sector, OMV was 1.7 percent higher to €37.89, while Statoil added 3.6 percent to NKr152.50.

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