Bastille Day is France’s National Day, celebrating the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a key turning point in the French Revolution.
And while the French concept of revolution was a tad more boisterous than the American version — the Marquis de Launay, the governor of the Bastille, was decapitated by a butcher and his head was paraded through Paris on a spike — today’s Bastille Day offers a colorful celebration of the noble concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity.
In honor of Bastille Day, here are five stocks from French companies that can be found on U.S. exchanges. Each might add a Gallic flavor for long-haul investors looking to solidify their portfolios.
Criteo SA CRTO
This technology company focuses on marketing and monetization services on the open internet with platforms that include the Criteo Shopper Graph for tracking commerce data; the Criteo AI Engine for executing campaigns based on specific certain objectives; Criteo Marketing Solutions for creating personalized advertisements across online and offline media; and Criteo Retail Media aimed at allowing retailers to generate advertising revenues from consumer brands.
This year, Crito entered a new three-year partnership with Carrefour Group, which became the first European food retailer to use Criteo's programmatic platform for retail media to market its inventories, and the company acquired Mabaya, a retail media technology company.
It also announced a rebranding designed to highlight its commitment to open internet and added new faces to its senior leadership team.
Criteo reported first-quarter revenue of $541 million, up 7% year-over-year, and net income of $23 million, up 43%, with diluted earnings per share of 35 cents, up from 25 cents one year earlier.
Its stock trades around $44.04, closer to its 52-week high of $46.65 and far from its 52-week low of $11.49.
Danone ADR DANOY
This multinational food products corporation includes a wide number of popular U.S. consumer brands including Activia, Actimel, Dannon, Evian, Horizon Organic, Oikos, Silk and Volvic.
During the first half of the year, Danone announced its acquisition of Earth Island, maker of the Follow Your Heart brand of plant-based foods, and it reached an agreement with Cofco Dairy Investments Limited to convert Danone’s stake in China Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd. from an indirect holding into a direct holding.
The company also saw the removal of Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber after lackluster 2020 sales and the arrival of Antoine de Saint-Affrique, former CEO of Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut ADR BRRLY, as his replacement.
In its first-quarter earnings, the company reported consolidated sales at $6.7 billion, down 3.3% year-over-year, with sales in Europe and North America dropping 2.8% and sales in the rest of the world down 4.2%.
First-quarter net sales on Danone’s dairy and plant-based products were up 1.6% year-over-year, but specialized nutrition products (including medical and infant nutrition goods) fell 7.7% and bottled water sales spilled by 11.6%.
Nonetheless, the company insisted it is on target for year-over-year growth in the second quarter and a return to profitable growth in the second half of the year.
Danone’s stock arrived on Bastille Day at $14.02, closer to the 52-week high of $14.87 than to the 52-week low of $10.71.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton LVMUY
This multinational corporation specializes in luxury good brands including Bulgari, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Princess Yachts.
As of the end of 2020, LVMH had France’s largest market capitalization at $317.6 billion.
The company opened 2021 with the completion of its acquisition of Tiffany & Co., the iconic New York City-based jewelry retailer for $16.3 billion. LVMH originally offered a $120 per share deal, but the companies negotiated the transaction up to $135 per share, with Tiffany Chairman Roger Farah saying the deal “provides an exciting path forward with a group that appreciates and will invest in Tiffany’s unique assets and strong human capital.”
LVMH does not release quarterly reports, preferring to detail its earnings twice a year.
Its most recent earnings report from the end of 2020 found the company with $52.6 billion in revenue, down 17% year-over-year, with the strongest sales in Asia and the U.S. and weakest in Europe. Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault insisted the company was “in an excellent position to build upon the recovery for which the world wishes in 2021 and to further strengthen our lead in the global luxury market.”
The company’s next earnings report on July 26 will determine if LVMH arrived out of the COVID-19 pandemic in a position of strength.
LVMH shares trade at $158.35, closer to the 52-week high of $165.59 than to the 52-week low of $85.67.
Orange SA ORAN
Formerly known as France Télécom S.A., this multinational telecommunications corporation has 266 million customers worldwide and employs 89,000 people in France and 59,000 elsewhere across the world.
Recently, the company announced the launch of Europe’s first 5G standalone fully end-to-end cloud network, the debut of a new $35.3 million funding vehicle via its Orange Ventures Impact investment arm that will target French and European start-ups and the acceleration of its solar projects in Africa and the Middle East with the goal of reducing its carbon footprint to zero by 2040.
In its first-quarter earnings report, Orange recorded $12.1 billion in revenue, up 0.5% year-over-year, with growth coming from the African and Middle East markets, which posted the best performance in 10 years with a 7.1% rise.
In comparison, the French market’s performance dipped 0.2% and the Spanish market tumbled by 7.4%. Chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard noted the company’s IT and integration services business were in demand despite European lockdowns, with annual revenues for their cloud computing and digital and data segments up 5% and 11%, respectively.
Orange started trading on Bastille Day at $11.38, sandwiched between its 52-week high of $13.09 and its 52-week low of $10.15.
Sanofi SA SNY
This multinational pharmaceutical company is the world's fifth-largest when measured in prescription sales.
The company has recently announced the divestiture of 16 of its consumer healthcare products commercialized in Europe to Germany’s Stada Arzneimittel AG STDAF. Eight of its consumer healthcare products commercialized in Latin America plus four prescription products from its general medicine portfolio were sold to Brazil’s Hypera ADR HYPMY. The company is also engaged with GlaxoSmithKline plc GSK on a Phase 3 clinical study to assess its adjuvanted recombinant-protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
In its first-quarter report, Sanofi reported sales of $10 billion, down 4.3% from one year earlier, which the company attributed negative exchange rate movements “mainly driven by the decrease of the U.S. dollar, Brazilian real, Russian ruble, Turkish lira, and Argentine peso and Japanese yen.”
The company’s strong seller for the quarter was Dupixent, the atopic dermatitis treatment developed in conjunction with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN, which saw a 45.6% sales increase to $1.1 billion,
Sanofi trades at $52.27, closer to its 52-week high of $55 than to its 52-week low of $44.76.
Happy Bastille Day! And as the fun bunch at Rick’s Café sang out, “Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!”
Photo: Joshua Veitch-Michaelis / Flickr Creative Commons.
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