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AFX Europe (Focus): ‘Royal Dutch Shell, British Airways and Friends Provident the main bid interest yesterday’

Published: May 18, 2007

EXTRACTS

Nigeria: Home to Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil and gas resources, Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta region have seen an upsurge in kidnappings of foreign and local workers in recent months, mainly connected to the oil industry. “Ongoing trouble regarding West African output… will have an obvious deleterious effect on future summer supplies,” said analysts at energy consultancy The Schork Report. The market has been concerned over tight gasoline supplies ahead of the holiday driving season starting at the end of May, when many Americans take to the roads for summer vacations.

OIL: Prices were mixed in Asian trading hours in a market focused on problems facing US refineries as the US summer driving season approaches. At 0306 GMT, the New York Mercantile Exchange’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, was up 0.09 usd at 64.95 usd a barrel from 64.86 usd in late trading in the US overnight. Brent North Sea crude for July was down 0.11 usd at 70.16 usd.

STOCKS: Leading shares closed firmer on Wednesday, just off late session highs as ongoing merger and acquisition chatter offset early falls on Wall Street, with Royal Dutch Shell, British Airways and Friends Provident the main bid interest yesterday. Meanwhile, British Airways PLC is expected to draw a line under a turbulent year today when it reports an 8 pct drop in full-year pretax profits. News of a bid for Spanish flag carrier Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA could also coincide with today’s results.

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