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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING - Stocks Rebound -2-

The Swiss engineering company increased its growth target to 4%-7% through the economic cycle, alongside honing its outlook for operational earnings before interest, taxes and amortization to at least 15% as from 2023.

   
 
 

British American Tobacco Backs 2021 Revenue Growth Guidance

British American Tobacco PLC backed its revenue growth guidance on Tuesday, and said that it recognizes the value of a share buyback.

The tobacco company said it continues to expect revenue growth for 2021 to be above 5% at constant currency as it is benefiting from strong new-category revenue growth. New categories will contribute to profit growth for the first time as their losses start to reduce, it said.

   
 
 

Babcock International Swung to 1H Pretax Profit

Babcock International Group PLC on Tuesday reported a swing to pretax profit for the first half of its fiscal 2022 as it recovered from coronavirus-related effects.

The U.K. engineering company, a major contractor for the U.K. government, said that for the six months ended Sept. 30, pretax profit was 58.8 million pounds ($78 million) compared with a loss of GBP811.6 million for the first half of fiscal 2021.

   
 
 

Ashtead Posts Improved 2Q Profit, Sees Full-Year Performance Ahead of Views

Ashtead Group PLC on Tuesday reported a higher profit for the second quarter of its fiscal year, and said it expects full-year performance to be ahead of its previous expectations.

The U.K. equipment rental company made a pretax profit of $474 million for the three months ended Oct. 31, up from $405 million a year earlier.

   
 
 

Europe Tops China in Spawning $1 Billion Tech Startups

BRUSSELS-Europe has overtaken China in creating billion-dollar tech startups, according to a new analysis that points to Europe's rising status in the field and the effect of Beijing's crackdown on capitalist entrepreneurialism.

Over the past year, China has reined in its most successful and freewheeling tech giants, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Didi Global Inc., casting a chill across the whole sector. Europe, meanwhile, has attracted further investment in its expanding tech industry, particularly from U.S. funds.

   
 
 

VW's CEO Likely to Survive Latest Clash With Labor

BERLIN-Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess is likely to survive his latest clash with labor representatives over the pace of the company's transformation to an electric-vehicle maker after weeks of negotiations produced a compromise that would strip the outspoken executive of some of his duties, people familiar with the talks said Monday.

Mr. Diess has been under fire for weeks since warning the company's board of directors in the fall that unless VW greatly accelerated its shift to electric vehicles it could lose up to 30,000 jobs at its main operations in Wolfsburg, Germany, around half of the workforce at the plant.

   
 
 

Saudi Aramco Sells Stake in Natural-Gas Pipeline Business

Saudi Aramco agreed to sell a 49% stake in its natural-gas pipeline business to a consortium led by BlackRock Inc. and Saudi-backed Hassana Investment Co. for $15.5 billion-the state-owned oil giant's latest move to pull cash out of its vast energy infrastructure.

The deal follows a pattern used when Aramco agreed to sell a similar sized stake in its oil pipeline network in April for $12.4 billion to a group led by EIG Global Energy Partners. Aramco, officially called the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., said Monday it had formed a new subsidiary, Aramco Gas Pipelines Co., that will lease usage rights in Aramco's gas-pipelines network. It agreed to sell 49% of the new company to the consortium led by BlackRock unit BlackRock Real Assets and Hassana. Hassana is the asset-management arm of Saudi Arabia's General Organization for Social Insurance.

   
 
 

Budweiser Tries to Make Beer Stocks Fashionable Again

Budweiser's new boss thinks beer has as bright a future as liquor. Shareholders aren't swallowing it yet.

Michel Doukeris, who took over as chief executive of Anheuser Busch InBev in July, set out his strategy for the world's biggest brewer at an investor day Monday. He plans to grow earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by 4% to 8% a year "over the medium term."

   
 
 

MTIP, a Swiss Healthtech Investor, Raises $250 Million for Its Second Fund

Swiss healthtech private-equity firm MTIP AG has collected $250 million for its second investment fund, with the goal of backing companies at the nexus of two expanding industry sectors.

Based in Basel, the firm said it closed the fund above its $225 million target. The first fund-a "proof of concept" vehicle-collected $65 million in 2016, according to Christoph Kausch, managing partner of the firm.

   
 
 

U.K. Retail Sales Rose in November on Black Friday Boost

Retail sales in the U.K. rose in November compared with the year before, according to the latest report by KPMG and the British Retail Consortium.

British retail sales between Oct. 31 and Nov. 27 rose 5.0% compared with the same period a year before, the report found. This was well above growth of 0.9% noted in November 2020, and exceeds the three-month average growth rate of 2.2%.

   
 
 
   
 
 

GLOBAL NEWS

China's Exports Stay Strong as Surplus Contracts in November

BEIJING-China's exports beat market expectations in November, though the growth rate decelerated from October due to a higher base compared with the same period a year earlier.

Outbound shipments rose 22% from a year earlier in November, slowing from a 27% increase in October, the General Administration of Customs said Tuesday. The result surpassed the 16.1% growth rate expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

   
 
 

RBA Says Omicron Won't Derail Economic Recovery

SYDNEY-The Reserve Bank of Australia left its official cash rate steady at 0.10% at its monthly policy meeting Tuesday, indicating it will be some time before the required conditions for an increase will be in place and addressing concerns about the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.

"The emergence of the Omicron strain is a new source of uncertainty, but it is not expected to derail the recovery," RBA Gov. Philip Lowe said in a statement. "The economy is expected to return to its pre-Delta path in the first half of 2022."

   
 
 

U.S. Weighs New Rules for All-Cash Real-Estate Deals

The real-estate sector faces the possibility of stepped-up regulatory scrutiny comparable to the controls affecting banks, as part of a U.S. push to fight money laundering and corruption.

The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an anti-money-laundering enforcer, said Monday that it was seeking public comment on its plan to apply more scrutiny to all-cash real-estate transactions.

   
 
 

Balmy Forecasts Send Natural Gas Prices Plunging

The threat of sky-high heating bills is melting away.

Unusually warm weather pushed U.S. natural gas futures down 11.5% on Monday to $3.657 per million British thermal units. That is down more than 40% from October's peak, erasing a run-up that stoked fears of exorbitant heating bills biting into household budgets and manufacturers' balance sheets already stressed by broad inflation.

   
 
 

CIA Chief Says Intelligence Agencies Haven't Concluded Russia Will Invade Ukraine

WASHINGTON-U. S. intelligence agencies haven't concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin will invade Ukraine, but he has assembled military forces that "could act in a very sweeping way" and may see an opportunity to move this winter, CIA Director William Burns said Monday.

"I would never underestimate President Putin's risk appetite on Ukraine, " Mr. Burns said at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit. He noted remarks Mr. Putin has made that Moscow should have significant influence over Ukraine, a neighbor.

   
 
 

Biden to Warn Putin Off Invasion of Ukraine

WASHINGTON-President Biden spoke Monday with European allies ahead of a call with Vladimir Putin in which he will warn the Russian president not to invade Ukraine, officials said.

Mr. Biden "will make clear that there will be very real costs should Russia choose to proceed, but he will also make clear that there is an effective way forward with respect to diplomacy," a senior administration official said about the call with Mr. Putin scheduled for Tuesday.

   
 
 

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 07, 2021 06:05 ET (11:05 GMT)

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