* FTSEurofirst 300 edges up 0.3 pct
* Fugro leads industry rally as Boskalis takes stake
* Carlsberg gains as quarterly results reassure
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) - European stocks inched higher on Monday as acquisition hopes fuelled gains for oil services firms after Dutch group Boskalis took a stake in Fugro .
Fugro jumped 33 percent after sector peer Boskalis bought about 15 percent of its shares, which have lost more than half of their value since June.
Boskalis denied any intention of making a full bid but its surprise purchase boosted takeover hopes in the sector and sent shares in SBM Offshore and Saipem soaring.
Belt-tightening by energy majors faced with plunging oil prices has hit shares in oil services companies, driving stocks such as Saipem and Fugro to multi-year lows.
“It could be a spark for further consolidation in the industry,” KBC Securities analyst, Dirk Verbiesen, said.
“Companies with room to put further leverage in their balance sheets could look towards companies (which are) strategically sound, such as Fugro, (but) who do have some potential issues in terms of financing,” he said.
M&A activity also lifted Nutreco, which surged 14 percent as SHV raised its bid for the Dutch animal feed and nutrition company.
Nutreco and Fugro were the top risers on the STOXX Europe 600 index, which rose 0.2 percent to 335.99 points by 1128 GMT.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,348.21 points, after losing 0.5 percent last week.
M&A aside, Carlsberg gained 2.5 percent after posting flat earnings as Asian growth offset the downturn in Russia, the Danish brewer’s largest market.
“Carlsberg has executed well despite difficult market conditions in Russia and in Western Europe,” Alm. Brand analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen said.
“But the investors’ focus will quickly shift from the earnings report to the consequences for Carlsberg of the depreciating Russian rouble.”
The rouble has slumped nearly 30 percent against the dollar this year as plunging oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis shrink Russia’s exports and investment inflows.
About three quarters of European companies have reported results so far this earnings season, of which 60 percent have met or beaten profit forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris and Teis Jensen in Copenhagen; Editing by Louise Ireland)