Ben's Feed
Feb 4, 2011

Ageas shares to brush off bond, legacy concerns

BRUSSELS, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Ageas (AGES.BR: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the insurer
left after the break-up of Dutch-Belgian bank Fortis, is tipped
to keep outperforming in 2011, despite legal threats from former
Fortis shareholders and exposure to Belgian government debt.

According to Starmine data, six brokers have Ageas as a
“strong buy”, 10 a “buy”, four a “hold” and one a “sell”.

Feb 2, 2011

Mid-caps early focus of European M&A cycle

BRUSSELS, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Cash rich companies will go
shopping for mid-cap firms in Europe this year as the early part
of an M&A cycle takes hold, the co-head of European equities at
Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management said on Wednesday.

He picked out companies like BG Group (BG.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Burberry
(BRBY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) in Britain, and Italy’s Bulgari (BULG.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) as likely

Dec 22, 2010

Belgium to sell fourth licence for 3G

BRUSSELS, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Belgium will sell a fourth 3G
licence next year, helping to increase penetration of ultra-fast
Internet on portable devices such as mobile phones, a government
minister said on Wednesday.

“The retail market in Belgium is not working properly …
another problem we have in Belgium is that mobile Internet
penetration is very low,” Vincent Van Quickenborne, the minister
for economy and administrative simplification, told Reuters.

Dec 14, 2010

Belgium faces threat of S&P downgrade

BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s cut its
outlook for Belgian debt to negative on Tuesday, flagging a new
risk for money markets as investors weighed prospects of higher
borrowing costs for one of the euro zone’s most indebted states.

If the country’s inability to form a government threatened
deficit- and debt-reduction goals, S&P said Belgium’S AA+ rating
could be downgraded within six months.

Dec 10, 2010

ECB’s Mersch says euro zone fund could be broadened

LUXEMBOURG, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Expanding Europe’s financial
stability fund would be preferable to issuing euro area bonds in
the short term to tackle any debt problems, European Central
Bank Governing Council member Yves Mersch said on Friday.

“We have already an EU financial stability fund, and why not
allow this existing fund to broaden the scope of its
activities?” he said after presenting the twice-yearly bulletin
of Luxembourg’s central bank, of which he is governor.

Dec 9, 2010

Mastercard buys Travelex division for $460 million

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – MasterCard (MA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is buying the prepaid cash card business of foreign exchange group Travelex for 290 million pounds, boosting its presence in a fast-growing financial services segment.

Mastercard said the transaction would be $0.04 dilutive to its 2011 earnings per share as a result of amortisation and integration costs. It added it could pay an extra 35 million pounds if the business meets certain performance targets.

Dec 9, 2010

Mastercard set to buy part of Travelex: sources

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – MasterCard is set to buy the card program management arm of British foreign exchange group Travelex and a deal may be announced on Thursday, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The sources said the deal was expected to be worth several hundred million pounds. Mastercard said it was preparing a statement for 1230 GMT, but declined to say whether it would announce an acquisition.

Dec 8, 2010

ArcelorMittal to spin off stainless steel unit

BRUSSELS/LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – World No. 1 steelmaker
ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) finalised details of a spin-off of its
stainless steel division, which may spark consolidation in a
sector burdened by over-capacity

ArcelorMittal unveiled initial plans in July to separate
stainless steel from its core operations after years of seeking
a merger for the unit to slash costs. [ID:nLDE66P19P]

Nov 26, 2010

Belgium’s RealDolmen seeks buys, big or small

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Big may be beautiful but good things may also come in small packages for RealDolmen (REAL.BR: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as the acquisitive Belgian company casts around for the deal it needs to fuel its growth strategy.

“We have talks with smaller companies, we have also talks with bigger companies,” Chief Executive Bruno Segers told Reuters in an interview.

Nov 25, 2010

Hansen: market could pick up from mid next yr

KONTICH, Belgium, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Hansen Transmissions
(HSNT.L: Quote, Profile, Research), the specialist maker of gearboxes for wind turbines
that cut its outlook last month, says its market could pick up
in three or four quarters.

The Belgium-based and London-listed company is also
predicting that it could return to its pre-crisis manufacturing
capacity in “a little bit longer” than 12 months as its
customers begin to take on orders.

    • About Ben

      "I am based in the Reuters Brussels office and I cover small and mid-size companies in Belgium and The Netherlands. Before I moved to Belgium I was based in the Reuters London office and wrote about biotechnology and chemical companies."
    • Follow Ben