Western European Countries – France: First
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Western European Countries – France: First

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Vincent Laurencin

& team

Exane BNP Paribas

"They're the first people I call when I'm looking for detailed information or exploring nascent trends."

In first place for a fourth straight year is the Exane BNP Paribas troupe guided by Vincent Laurencin. The 36-year-old is based in London but commutes to Paris each week to direct the firm's coverage of 150 French companies (the same number as last year). The analysts are bullish on Clermont-Ferrand-based tire manufacturer Cie. Générale des Établissements Michelin, which presents "a great investment opportunity, as it combines good fundamentals and an attractive valuation," Laurencin says, noting that the stock currently trades below six times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. "Pricing power remains strong, emerging-markets investments should start to pay off, replacement volumes should pick up, and lower raw materials costs should translate into better-than-expected earnings." Another favorite is Accor, a hotel operator headquartered in Paris, on the belief that the company's ongoing efforts to sell assets and pay down debt will improve cash flow margins by up to 18 percent over the next three years. — Paul Sweeney


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