10 de noviembre de 2014 / 17:33 / en 3 años

M&A activity drives European shares higher, led by Fugro

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 0.7 pct

* Fugro leads industry rally as Boskalis takes stake

* Portugal Telecom, Nutreco boosted by bids

* Carlsberg gains as quarterly results reassure

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Monday, boosted by acquisition activity in the oil services industry, where Dutch group Boskalis took a stake in Fugro, and in the telecoms and food sectors.

Fugro jumped 49 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 some of Fugro’s top competitors, TGS Nopec and Polarcus 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.

Shares in Portugal Telecom jumped 11.8 percent to 1.36 euros on Monday following a 1.35 euros a share takeover bid for the company by Angola’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos.

M&A activity also lifted Nutreco, which surged 14.4 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 0.7 percent to 337.71 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares also added 0.7 percent to close at 1,354.75 points, more than recouping a 0.5 percent drop suffered last week.

M&A aside, Carlsberg gained 3.1 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 Ralph Boulton)

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