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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
December 8, 2006

European pharma sees gains on bids news


by Elaine Frei

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 ended the day and the week higher on Friday, closing at 1,449.14. The Eurofirst added 0.1 percent on the session and 2 percent higher for the week.

In the pharmaceuticals sector, bids news sent both Schwarz Pharma of German and UCB of Belgium higher when the Schwarz family accepted a €4.4 billion offer, including both cash and shares, for the company in which they hold a 59.2 percent stake. Schwarz added 4.7 percent during the week to €95.99, while UCB was 9.2 percent highr to €52.25.

Bids news also brought gains to the tobacco sector after UK company Gallaher said it had received an offer which many think came from Japan Tobacco. Despite a decline on Friday after a downgrade from Cazenove, Gallaher was 24.2 percent higher over the week to £11.72. With investors hoping for more consolidation in the sector, French-Spanish tobacco group Altadis ended the week with a gain of 8.8 percent to €40.5.

Banks also had a good week. Irish banks were led higher by Anglo Irish Bank after it said that its pre-tax profits were better than had been expected and after UBS upped its target share price. Anglo Irish added 8.4 percent to €15.44, while Allied Irish Banks added 3.8 percent over the week to €21.49 even after it didn’t raise its growth guidance. Bank of Ireland, meanwhile, was 3.7 percent higher to €16.65.

Austrian banks also did well. Erste Bank added 4.2 percent to €57.78 after ING initiated coverage with a “buy” recommendation. Raiffeisen International was 6.8 percent higher to €99.90. Both banks do substantial business in eastern Europe.

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