Sanofi eclipses Total as France's biggest company

PARIS Thu Nov 8, 2012 1:24pm EST

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PARIS Nov 8 (Reuters) - Drugmaker Sanofi became France's biggest listed company on Thursday, surpassing oil giant Total as the top stock by market value on the CAC 40, a position Total had been commanding for 12 years.

At the close of the Paris bourse on Thursday, Sanofi's market capitalisation stood at 89.47 billion euros ($114 billion) against 89.18 billion euros for Total.

"This switch is essentially due to sector rotation. Pharmas have strongly performed this year while Total's stock has been erratic due to the worries over the outlook for crude prices," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities.

Since the start of the year, shares in Sanofi have surged 19 percent while Total stock is down 4.6 percent.

The two French companies rank second and third among the biggest listed firms of the euro zone, behind AB Inbev, which has a market value of 103 billion euros, and ahead of German carmaker Volkswagen and engineering conglomerate Siemens. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Blaise Robinson)

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