Most European indexes swing lower
Shares in Fyffes shot skywards with the news of its merger with Chiquita
The merged entity will be called ChiquitaFyffes and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange but domiciled in Ireland. It will have combined annual revenues of approximately €3.3 billion. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
While exports from China and the developing crisis in Ukraine weighed on the world’s markets yesterday, closer to home everyone was focused on the merger of Irish fruit producer Fyffes with US food group Chiquita.
The merged entity will be called ChiquitaFyffes and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange but domiciled in Ireland. It will have combined annual revenues of approximately €3.3 billion.
A report from China’s customs administration showed that exports from the world’s second-biggest economy dropped 18.1 per cent in February from a year earlier.
Shares in Fyffes shot skywards with the news of its merger with Chiquita. The ESM-listed stock finished the day at €1.3, a rise of 46.07 per cent, with the deal prompting all sorts of puns within the business media about shares going bananas and a banana giant being created.
Chiquita Brands International soared 11 per cent to $12.02, their highest level since October on the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders noted heavy trading in another AIM-listed stock yesterday, AIB , which closed down 1.21 per cent, at €0.16. CRH closed down 0.32 per cent, at €20.43. Bank of Ireland closed unchanged on the day, at 0.31, though traders said the volume of trade was good.
The Iseq fell 0.46 per cent, to close at 5,028.55.
UK stocks retreated, following their biggest weekly decline since January, as Ukraine carried out military exercises and a report showed that China’s exports unexpectedly slumped last month.
The FTSE 100 Index slipped 23.22 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,689.45 at the close in London. The benchmark declined 1.4 per cent last week after Russia’s parliament authorised President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops in Ukraine.
Vodafone declined 3.6 per cent to 230.1 pence after people familiar with the matter said the telecommunications operator raised its bid for Grupo Corporativo Ono to about €7 billion at a meeting with shareholders Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H Lee Partners on March 5th.
BHP Billiton Ltd and Antofagasta each dropped more than 1 per cent as copper slid.
Rolls-Royce gained 1.7 per cent to 1,043 pence after Daimler said it will sell its £1.9 billion stake in Rolls-Royce Power Systems under an option that the British manufacturer has held since the joint venture started three years ago.
European shares fell for the second straight session. Most European indexes swung lower in the afternoon after the Interfax news agency reported Russian troops had opened fire with automatic rifles during a takeover of a Ukrainian naval post in Crimea.
German steel maker ThyssenKrupp , down 3 per cent, was among the top fallers in Europe as Chinese steel and iron ore futures slumped to their lowest levels ever on concerns about a slowdown in the world’s top commodity buyer.
Shares with the largest exposure to Russia fell, such as Austrian bank Raiffeisen Bank International and Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat , which dropped 2.7 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.
US stocks slid, pulling the S&P’s 500 Index down from a record, as a slowdown in Chinese exports fuelled concern about global economic growth.
The S&P 500 lost 0.3 per cent to 1,872.07 at 2.18pm in New York. The benchmark gauge is up 177 per cent since reaching its bear-market low, which was five years ago on Sunday.
Alcoa lost 2.3 per cent to $11.88 and U S Steel slipped 2.3 per cent to $24.28. Joy Global fell 2.6 per cent to $55.33 and Vulcan Materials decreased 1.2 per cent to $68.04. Cliffs Natural Resources slipped 4.2 per cent to $17.80 after falling as low as $17.40, the weakest level since July. – ( Additional reporting, Bloomberg, Reuter )