- Equities: Unicredit [UCG.IT] reported its Q4 Net profit at ÔéČ505M, this figure
was ahead of the expected ÔéČ351M, Op profit atÔéČ1.9B, also ahead of the expected
ÔéČ1.52B and Rev at ÔéČ5.26B (interest income), slightly below the ÔéČ5.84B expected.
The bank confirmed that it would pay its final dividend in 13 new shares for 36
common shares. UniCredit reported its FY08 Net at ÔéČ4.01B *Note: Firm had stated
that it would report ahead of the ÔéČ3.78B expectation line. Bank stated that it
will not pay bonuses to top executives in 2008 and that it has seen continued
positive performance in its commercial banking operations. UniCredit will seek
up to ÔéČ4B from Italy bank bailout plan and reiterated that Austrian unit will
seek funds for capital raise from Austrian govt. Bank is the process of
reorganizing business units, CEE unit to report directly to Chief Executive. It
states operations in CEE were very good in 2008 and that 15% of assets outside
of Italy are in
'low quality' countries while 45% are in 'good quality.' UniCreidt is
continuing to monitor activities in Ukraine
very closely and will cut approx 2,000 positions in CEE region (approx 1.1% of
workforce). Bank has joined consensus call that it has seen a good start to
operations in 2009, will report trading gains in Q1 2009 and that all units
have contributed positive gains in Jan-Feb. ||Royal Bank of Scotland [RBS.UK]
Chairman stated that the Bank has benefitted from "buoyant" corporate
banking - FT interview. These comments now mean that RBS joins HSBC, Barclays,
UBS, DB and C in stating that 2009 has started out on positive footing.
Chairman stated bank has seen rise in businesses regarding corporate debt
offerings and equity underwriting. Article noted that improvements in business
operations may be offset by continued deterioration in banks balance sheet.
||BG Group [BG.UK] noted that its offer for Pure Energy is only offer open to
shareholders. Currently BG Group has a relevant interest in 36% of Pure shares.
Royal Dutch Shell, which has an interest in 11% of Pure, announced on March 3
that it intends to accept BG Group''s Offer for Pure, in the absence of a
superior offer. BG Group''s conditional offer price of A$8.25 is final, in the
absence of a superior. ||Old Mutual [OML.UK] is closing its US Life offshore
unit to new business with immediate effect. OMB management team has been
focused on rebuilding the business by writing specialist investment products
which would meet its customers' needs as long as this could be done within the
Group's agreed risk appetite. Management has now concluded that it is unlikely
OMB will be able to launch products that meet these risk requirements
successfully and provide a satisfactory return on capital. || SIG Materials
[SHI.UK] reported its FY08 Net at ┬ú6.3M compared to ┬ú85.3Me (unclear if comp)
and Revenue of ┬ú3.1B compared to the ┬ú3.04B expected. Further, SIG proposed a
share placement to raise ┬ú341.3M. SIG stated that cold weather and snow
effected operations but remains confident that market position will be strengthened.
The firm reported restructuring costs of ┬ú22.2M in 2008 and that it would be
cutting FY09 CAPEX by 50% y/y. For the share placement, SIG will issue 455M new
shares prices at 75P/share (29% premium to Tuesdays close price of 105P).
||French Connection [FCCN.UK] reported its FY08 Adj pretax loss at ┬ú5.5M
compared to the loss ┬ú2.4M expected and revenues of ┬ú248M compared to the ┬ú236M
expected. The retailer puts final dividend at 1.7P v 5P y/y (1.70Pe) and stated
that its preliminary results are in line with market expectations. Firm stated
that it expected to sees 2009 as being another difficult deal. ||For Rio Tinto
[RIO.UK], reportedly Australian Senate decides to establish inquiry into
foreign investment approval process. Move is largely expected as Senate debates
the legality of planned $19.5B Chinalco investment into Rio Tinto. ||Bowleven
[BLVN.UK] has received a possible cash offer at 150P/share. Firms board
confirmed that possible cash offer has been made. Price represents at 127%
premium over close price of 41P. ||
For Kingfisher [KGF.UK] Chairman Peter Jackson to retire on June 3rd, to be
succeeded by Daniel Bernard. John Nelson has
been named new deputy chairman. ||
Duerr [DUE.GE] reported its 2008 Net at ÔéČ33.7M, ahead of the expected ÔéČ35M and Revenues
at ÔéČ1.60B, which was in line with the ÔéČ1.60B expected. Duerr noted that it
plans an additional 250 job cuts by end of Q1(approx 4%). Firm sees 2009 sales
and earnings moderately declining and a recovery in order volume during Q2
2009. Duerr continues to plan cost cuts while seeing firm as being well
prepared for economic conditions. Firm stated that Credit lines are fixed until
2011 and proposed a dividend of ÔéČ0.70.share v ÔéČ0.40/share y/y. Duerr put its
FY08 cashflow at ÔéČ30.9M and net debt at end of FY08 ÔéČ34.4M. ||Lanxess [LXS.GE]
reported its Q4 at a Net loss of ÔéČ41M which was in line with the loss ÔéČ42.3M
expected, EBIT at a loss of ÔéČ46M, which was below the loss of ÔéČ23.3M expected
and Rev at ÔéČ1.46B, also below the expected ÔéČ1.55B. Lanxess noted that Q1 Adj
EBITDA will not improve q/q and it cut its dividend to ÔéČ0.50 from ÔéČ1.00 prior.
Firm stated dividend cut reflects the general lack of important sales markets.
Lanxess has begun cost cutting program aiming to reduce ÔéČ250M in costs during
next 2 years. ||Phoenix Solar [PS4.GE] reported its FY08 EBIT at ÔéČ34M, in line
with the expected ÔéČ34M and Rev of ÔéČ402M, which was ahead of the ÔéČ392M expected.
Firm guided its FY09 EBIT at ÔéČ31M v ÔéČ29M expected and FY09 Rev at ÔéČ520M v ÔéČ499M
expected. Phoenix Solar put its year end FY08 Backlog ÔéČ112M. ||Wacker chemical
[WCH.GE] reported its FY08 Net income at ÔéČ438M, below the ÔéČ466M expected and
revenues of ÔéČ4.30B, in line with the ÔéČ4.29B expected. Wacker guided 2009 Rev
and EBITDA down y/y citing global recession; current analysts estimates are
ÔéČ3.85Be and ÔéČ795.0Me respectively. Wacker will pay final dividend of
ÔéČ1.80/share v ÔéČ2.50 estimate and continues to prepare for global slowdown in
2009. Firm noted that reliable forecasts for FY09 are not possible yet expects
to see positive gains from cuts in material and energy costs. Wacker has
secured new three-year credit lines this year, totaling around ÔéČ200M. ||Stora
Enso [STERV.FH] issued a profit warning; sees Q1 operating results below Q4.
Firm sees market demand to remain weak for H1 and see its Capex cut to ÔéČ500M.
||BMW [BMW.GE] CEO & CFO stated that firm cannot make reliable guidance for
FY09 as it is a 'transition year', they do not expect to reach FY08 retail
sales level this year . BMW reaffirmed FY2012 profitability targets; aims 26%
return on capital employed in 2012. Car maker expects to 'clearly' exceed ÔéČ4B
cost cut target for 2012. Current priorities are liquidity, free cash flow,
working capital, and to preserve independence of group. BMW expects world
economy to pick up in 2010 and expects worldwide automarkets to contract by
10-20% this year; expects US used car market to stabilize and improve. Firm
noted leasing remains a fundamental tool, lease market has changed following
several competitors abandoning business. BMW will continue cutting non-mgmt
employee salaries by around 10%, senior executive salaries by around 33%, exec
board member salaries by 40% and will cut FY09 total capex to less than ÔéČ4B.
Group cannot completely rule out residual value risk in FY09. Carmaker cut its
Q4 production by 96K cars, inventory below Q3 level but sees group sales
volumes picking up pace from 2010 onwards. Stated that FY08 credit loss rate
rose to 0.59% from 0.46%. BMW reiterated the belief that state support for auto
makers distorts market. ||
- Speakers: BoJ's Shirakawa stated that there was limited room to purchase
additional JGB's and there were no plans to alter JGB purchase rules. The BOJ
head noted that JGB purchases were not aimed at controlling long term interest
rates, but aimed at securing financial market stability. There were no plans to
request government guarantees on subordinated bank debt purchases || ECB
Trichet commented that 2009 will be ÔÇťvery difficultÔÇŁ during a radio interview.
Trichet reiterated that 2010 could be a year of moderate recovery but it all
depends on confidence returning to the markets. ECB has already taken a number
of unconventional measures and has provided ÔéČ600B in unconventional measures.
The ECB was studying if additional measures were necessary || Bank of England
Minutes: MPV voted 9-0 to cut interest rates by 50bps to 0.50% and enact
Quantitative easing. At its march 5th meeting. The MPC saw a substantial risk
remained of inflation undershoot and that the UK Housing activity remained subdued.
The BOE members agreed UK
needed new money in range of ┬ú50B to ┬ú100B; and that a small injection might
show tool was ineffective. There were some signs that UK recession was on track
to ease in 2009and noted that rising money supply will cause spending to rise
||India's Sen: Sees 2010 GDP in range of 5% to 7%. The export growth was seen
slowing to a range of of 5% to 10% versus 17% to 20% seen in 2009. India might
need more stimulus steps to revive its growth || RBA's Broadbent commented that
he saw Australia less affected by world events but its recovery still depended
on a 'global rebound'. He did note that more stimulus measures might be
required || IMF Report: UK economy is expected to contract by 3.8% in 2009 and
to decline by 0.2% in 2010
- In Currencies: USD saw some initial strength ahead of Europe as risk
appetitive waned after its recent run. The World Bank lowered its Chinese GDP
view for 2009 to 6.5% from 7.5% was resurrecting the risk aversion theme.
- The European morning was characterized by a broad base GBP weakness, which
was attributed to talk that the IMF will revise UK
growth forecast lower for both 2009 and 2010 periods. GBP weakness accelerated
following the UK
jobless claims change surged to 138.4K well above the 84.8K estimates and
registered its highest level since records began back in 1971. Dealers noted
that a wider measure of UK
unemployment rose above the 2 million mark for the first time since 1997 in
three months to January period, GBP/USD approached the 1.3840 level while
EUR/GBP moved towards 0.9400 and GBP/JPY tested 136.60 before consolidating its
- the EUR/USD continued to consolidate in the 1.2930 to 1.3070 range
experienced this week.
- In Energy: OPEC Sec Gen El-Badri reiterated the view that low oil prices
discourage investment. || Saudi Oil Min Al-Naimi commented that he did not see
need for further Saudi cuts to meet OPEC compliance and expected demand to rise
as soon as economic growth picks up. He stated that despite the low oil prices
no Saudi oil & gas projects have been delayed but Crude oil at $45/bbl
makes it difficult for OPEC to add capacity. He agreed output cuts are 'more
than adequate' to achieve market balance || Iran Oil Min: Oil at $40 per barrel
will inhibit investment; many projects likely to be suspended || IMF's Lipsky
commented that the decline in oil prices from last year's peak was a stimulus
of approximately 1.5% of world GDP
*** NOTES ***
- Risk appetite diminishing this session as contracting GDP concerns simmer.
World bank lowers China 2009 view. U.K.
February claimant count shocked markets with its highed climb in unemployment
since records began back in 1971. GBP currency broadly weaker on potential IMF
downward revision of its GDP.Yet ECB's Trichet labels next year as a probable
one for positive growth.
Protectionism chatter ahead of the April G20 summit has been citied as a theme
that could derail global growth and this seemed to be weighing on equity
sentiment: Chinese regulator blocked Coca Cola's bid for Huiyuan. This would
have been the biggest foreign takeover of a Chinese company.
- IBM might bid for Sun Microsystems
- UAE Central Bank Gov noted that any lifting of USD peg has been ruled out
since there are no alternative to the greenback.
-BOJ kept its interest rate steady at near zero percent, and announced plans to
purchase additonal JGBs
- The question remains whether the Fed would announce its quantitative measures
after its policy decision later today. Federal Open Market Committee is expected
to leave interest rates on hold at zero to 0.2%, with focus centered on whether
it will announce any additional measures to expand its credit easing policies.
- Looking Ahead: FOMC decision
- 7:00 (CZ) Czech Republic to sell 10y Bonds
- 7:00 (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e March 13th: No expectations v 11.3%
- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Jan Wholesale Sales M/M: -2.7% expected v -3.4% prior
- 8:30 (US) Feb CPI M/M: 0.3% expected v 0.3% prior; Y/Y: 0.0% expected v 0.0%
prior; CPI NSA: 212.020 expected v 211.143 prior
- 8:30 (US) Feb CPI Ex Food & Energy M/M: 0.1% expected v 0.2% prior; Y/Y:
1.7% expected v 1.7% prior
- 14:15 (US) FOMC Interest Rate Decision
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