FRANKFURT Jan 27 Shares in German synthetic
rubber specialist Lanxess gained 8 percent on Monday
after news its well-regarded former chief financial officer was
returning from Merck KGaA to take up the top job at
Shares in drugs and chemicals group Merck, which have gained
30 percent over the last year, meanwhile dropped 11 percent
following the news, late Sunday, of the departure of Matthias
Zachert, who had been viewed as a potential CEO.
Zachert, who has been working as finance chief at Merck,
will replace Axel Heitmann as CEO of Lanxess, who is leaving
after eight years.
Zachert is well liked by the capital markets and investors
after having helped to set up Lanxess following its spin-off
Lanxess's share price dropped around 5 percent on the day in
2011 when he left the firm, the world's largest maker of
synthetic rubber for tyres, door sealants and windscreen wipers.
In response to the switch back, Equinet upgraded its rating
on the stock to 'Buy' from 'Hold'.
"Leaving the company for Merck in 2011 was taken by the
market very negatively. The change back is very positive for
Lanxess, especially in currently rough times," Equinet analyst
Nadesha Demidova wrote in a note.
Lanxess is in the midst of an overhaul including job cuts
and potential asset sales. It is also looking into takeovers in
the medium term to ease its dependence on the automobile sector.
"Investors who remember Zachert from his time at Lanxess in
the early days of the post spin-off period may begin to
anticipate a period of re-basing market expectations, refocusing
the portfolio, and possibly a new cost cutting programme to meet
the challenges ahead from new capacity," JP Morgan Cazenove
Shares in Lanxess have lost around 7 percent since the start
of the year. "There are hopes that business can improve under a
new CEO," one trader said.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, Frank Siebelt and Daniela Pegna;
Editing by Mark Potter)