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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
December 4, 2006

Airlines mixed on Italian announcement


by Elaine Frei

Mergers and acquisitions rumors once again helped European equities see gains on Monday as the FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.6 percent to 1,429.95.

The airlines sector was mixed on the session. On an announcement by the Italian government that it will reduce its stake in Alitalia to less than 30 percent, from the 49.9 percent that it now holds, the Italian air carrier added 2.4 percent to €0.96. Air France-KLM, which recently said that it is in preliminary talks with Alitalia concerning a possible merger, dropped 0.7 percent to €30.30. Analysts for Citigroup, however, felt that it would be more likely that domestic bidders would be interested rather than foreign carriers such as Air France or Lufthansa. Lufthansa was nonetheless 2.4 percent higher to €19.95 when Morgan Stanley reaffirmed its “overweight” rating and lifted the carrier’s target share price from €18.20 to €25.

In the utilities sector, Spanish power generators were up on rumors that the government could hike electricity tariffs by 10 percent in 2007. If this turns out to be the case, it would be largest increase in the tariffs in 20 years. Endsea was 0.4 percent higher to €35.15, while Iberdrola added 1.5 percent to €33.48 and Union Fenosa gained 2.7 percent to €39.94.

Also in Spain, property group Inmocaral purchased 15 percent of builder FCC from Acciona. FCC added 3.6 percent to €75.20 and Inmocaral was 5.7 percent higher to €5.38. Acciona, which did not say how it would use the €1.53 billion it will receive for the transaction, gained 0.4 percent to €131.50. Some analysts expect that Acciona will use the money to buy more of a stake in Endsea as part of an attempt to foil Germany’s Eon from acquiring Endsea. Eon was 1.5 percent higher on the session, to €95.90.

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