GLOBAL MARKETS LIVE: Merger between 02 and Virgin goes ahead

05/07/2020 | 10:28am

Headlines are still dominated by earnings reports, with a new series of big names, such as ArcelorMittal, Equinor and PayPal. The telecoms sector is in the spotlight with an O2 / Virgin Media merger in the U.K.


Earnings season. Bristol-Myers Squibb, Danaher, Linde, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Equinor, Ahold Delhaize, Telefonica, Cellnex, DSM, Legrand, Continental, Zalando and ArcelorMittal are among companies reporting their earnings today.

Lyft: the company is increasing revenues and reducing losses to a greater extent than expected (+17% post-season).

Equinor: the Norwegian group has suspended its oil and gas production targets for 2020. Pre-tax profit is slightly above $2bn in the first quarter, which is close to consensus. The company is, however, sticking to its medium-term objectives for 2026.

HeidelbergCement: First quarter results held up well, but the future looks sufficiently uncertain for the world's second largest cement company to reduce its dividend proposal from EUR 2.20 to EUR 0.60.

Metro: quarterly sales increased slightly, but losses increased, while the context remains difficult as long as hotel and restaurants remain closed.

PayPal: reports higher revenues and lower-than-expected results in the first quarter, while abandoning annual targets (+8% post-season).

Enel: the Italian energy company suffered a 12.2% contraction in revenues in the first quarter, but its Ebitda was up slightly and its net profit was stable at €1.25 billion.

Peloton Interactive: the fitness specialist's sales boosted by confinement (+10.7% post session).

T-Mobile US: published results leave the market in a state of shock (+0.7% post-workout).

Zalando: the German group is expecting 10 to 20% growth in sales this year.

Mega merger in UK telecoms. Confirming information from the Financial Times, O2 (Telefonica) and Virgin Media, Liberty Media's UK subsidiary, have agreed on a merger. O2 is valued at £12.7bn and Virgin Media at £18.7bn. To ensure a 50-50 merger, O2 will be transferred net of debt into the joint venture, while Virgin Media will contribute its debt, with cash compensation being provided at closing for each party. Completion is expected  mid 2021.

A lot of work to do. Facebook has announced the composition of its "council of wise men" dedicated to content, which includes profiles from all walks of life (a former Danish prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, international lawyers...).

In other news. Sixt obtains a €1.5 billion syndicated loan from several German banks. Austrian Airlines (Lufthansa) plans to cut about 1100 jobs. US parliamentarians are asking airlines they rescued from bankruptcy (United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines) to commit to protecting their employees and passengers. Novartis Tabrecta is approved in the US for the treatment of certain lung cancers. Dexcom and Domino's will replace Allergan and Capri Holdings in the S&P500. Symbolically, Costco Wholesale sales experienced their first monthly decline since 2008. ABB LTD wins a $180 million contract with Stadler.


Romain Fournier 2020
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