(Adds futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a steady open on Wednesday after sharp losses in the previous session, with investors seen focusing on company results for the market’s near-term direction.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX , France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE were flat to 0.1 percent lower.
Airbus posted 2015 profit in line with forecasts and announced plans to reverse part of a planned production cut of A330 aircraft, while French conglomerate Bouygues said improved profitability at its telecoms unit and at its TF1 television channel helped it deliver forecast-beating operating profit last year.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 58 percent companies in the STOXX Europe 600 index have announced results so far, of which 5 percent have met or beaten analyst forecasts.
Energy shares will be in focus after oil prices extended their sharp falls from the previous session after top exporter Saudi Arabia ruled out production cuts and industry data showed a further build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
European shares fell in the previous session on weaker oil prices and disappointing updates from companies such as Standard Chartered and BHP Billiton, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index index closing 1.3 percent lower. U.S. shares closed 1.1 to 1.5 percent lower.
On Wednesday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.9 percent.
The company posted 2015 profit in line with forecasts and announced plans to reverse part of a planned production cut of A330 aircraft due to stronger-than-expected demand.
French conglomerate Bouygues said improved profitability at its telecoms unit and at its TF1 television channel helped it deliver forecast-beating operating profit last year despite lower sales, and it predicted a further rise in profitability for 2016.
Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd on Wednesday said it would reduce the size of a planned share issue to 650 million euros ($715.65 million) from 1 billion euros, in a bid to appease shareholders.
Scottish engineering firm Weir Group said its pretax profit for the year nearly halved, as its customers continued to delay spending in order to weather the slump in oil prices.
Europe’s largest insurer Allianz has put its South Korean life insurance business on the block as part of a global overhaul in a tough low-interest rate environment, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Dutch business information and publishing company Wolters Kluwer reported slightly better-than-expected results, as growth in North America and Asia Pacific offset weakness in Europe.
PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Wednesday it would consider paying a dividend for 2016 after reaching its medium-term targets ahead of schedule, helped by cost cuts, price increases and a recovery in European demand.
The company is exploring a sale of its Hong Kong and Singapore operations as it reviews its non-core businesses outside Europe, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Spain’s Iberdrola said 2015 net profit rose 4 percent in 2015 from a year earlier to 2.42 billion euros, slightly missing a Reuters forecast of 2.46 billion euros.
The lender plans to scrap performance-based bonuses for its staff for 2015 because profitability has not improved enough to justify a payment, Handelsblatt reported on Wednesday, citing an internal memo it obtained.
Three class action suits filed in San Francisco over Volkswagen’s emissions rigging seek to hold high-ranking current and former managers of the carmaker personally liable, German daily Bild reported on Wednesday.
Separately, German luxury automaker Audi on Tuesday topped the annual ranking of new vehicles by influential U.S. magazine Consumer Reports despite the brand’s emissions-cheating scandal while quality problems hurt Tesla Motors Inc’s Model S luxury car.
Russia’s Standard Agency said it sent a request for information to Mercedes in Russia over diesel emissions.
Brazilian police in the state of Minas Gerais on Tuesday accused six Samarco executives and one contractor of murder in connection with the deaths of 19 people caused by a burst tailings dam at a mine in November. Samarco is a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Brazil’s Vale.
BT said it would increase investment in superfast broadband, including more fibre to the home, if regulator Ofcom decides against forcing a break-up of the company.
Fresenius said on Wednesday it aimed to increase 2016 net income by 8 to 12 percent, adjusted for currency swings and one-off items, driven by growth at its German hospital chain, kidney dialysis operations and its hospital development business.
The dialysis group hiked its 2015 dividend by 3 percent to 0.80 euros per share and affirmed its 2016 guidance for 15-20 percent net income growth.
The German government could ask its utilities to make an additional payment of 6-18 billion euros in order to avoid long-term liability for the storage of nuclear waste from decommissioned plants, three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange are making a third attempt at a merger that would create a European trading powerhouse that could better compete against U.S. rivals encroaching on their turf.
Sartorius is to join the STOXX Europe 600 index as of March 21, replacing Morphosys.
The company is to sell online furniture retailer FabFurnish to Future Group, the Economic Times reported.
Norwegian oil producer Statoil sees the crude price downturn as a chance to slash costs and become more efficient, with a senior executive calling it a “great opportunity” to improve operations.
Austrian building materials group Wienerberger AG on Wednesday posted its first full-year net profit in four years, helped by solid demand for single- and two-family houses in Britain and the Netherlands. (Reporting by Atul Prakash)