(Updates futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a sharply lower open on Monday, with concerns about a U.S. rate hike from as early as September and further weakness in Chinese stocks hurting sentiment.
At 0637 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were down 0.8 to 1.0 percent. Trading volumes were likely to be thin as the UK market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.
The Federal Reserve on Friday left the door open to a September interest rate hike even while several U.S. central bank officials acknowledged that turmoil in financial markets, if prolonged, could delay the first policy tightening in nearly a decade.
Shanghai stocks, which have plunged more than 40 percent since mid-June, were down 1.3 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.3 percent and was on track for a fall of about 10 percent this month, while Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.3 percent.
The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index and Germany’s DAX , both down about 9 percent in August so far, were set to record their worst monthly performance in percentage terms in four years.
The agrichemicals company may seek partners to help improve its product lineup after a thorough review in the wake of a rebuffed takeover approach from Monsanto Co, its chairman told a Swiss newspaper.
Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp said on Sunday it will buy back the 19.9 percent stake it sold to Volkswagen after an international arbitration court settled a dispute between the automakers over their failed partnership.
Allianz has joined Borealis Infrastructure, which manages investments for Canada’s Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Systems, to explore a bid for London City Airport, a source familiar with the process said.
The drugmaker on Monday plans to release Phase II trial data on new heart failure drug finerenone. The oral drug may only reach the market in 2020 or 2021 but it is seen by some analysts as having peak sales potential of $2.0 billion.
Separately, Handelsblatt reported that the Covestro business could be valued at 10 billion euros in an IPO, with Bayer aiming to initially float a third of that. Sources told Reuters in July that Bayer is preparing a stock market listing of the plastics division as early as October.
The German city of Essen, one of RWE’s municipal shareholders, expects the utility to cut its dividend to 0.50-0.60 euros per share from 1 euro per share, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung cited the city’s treasurer as saying.
The banking software services provider is scanning the market for potential takeover targets with 20-50 million euros in sales but is focused for now on the integration of recent deals, CEO Ulrich Dietz told Welt am Sonntag weekly.
The flavours and fragrances group has acquired cosmetics ingredients firm Induchem. The company would have added 25 million Swiss francs to 2014 sales.
The French medical insruments maker said first-half operating income rose to 103 million euros from 78 million.
The French low-cost telecoms group reiterated its full-year operating profit goal after increasing its mobile market share in the first half.
The French drugmaker said it had published phase-three trial results demonstrating safety and efficacy of its Dysport treatment.
Chairman Vincent Bollore is preparing a reorganisation of the French media group to be discussed at board meetings later this week, preparing the way for the possible absorption of television subsidiary Canal+, Les Echos reported.
The Italian energy group announces the discovery of the largest known gas field in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast, predicting the find could help meet Egypt’s gas needs for decades to come.
Eni is open to selling a stake in the mega gas field to strengthen its balance sheet, CEO Claudio Descalzi said in an interview with La Repubblica.
Eni denied a report in Corriere della Sera newspaper that it was considering demerging from Saipem and sharing its holding with other shareholders. Such a move would leave state fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as the largest single shareholder in Eni, Corriere said.
The energy company has won a right to sign 20-year energy supply contracts in Brazil for a total of 553 MW with 3 new solar projects, and will invest about $600 mln to build the plants, it said in a statement on Monday.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Asian stocks set for worst monthly drop in 3 yrs on global rout > Wall St ends flat as investors gauge Fed > Nikkei slumps as soft industrial ouput data, Fed rate view sour mood > U.S. bonds fall as Fed’s Fischer leaves door open for rate hike > Dollar sags vs yen and euro, on track for monthly loss > Gold pressured as U.S. rate hike expectations drag > Shanghai copper eyes monthly rise, but China jitters linger > Oil prices fall on profit-taking, rate hike uncertainty (Reporting by Atul Prakash)