France launches sale of 3.12 percent stake in Safran
PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Tuesday it was launching the sale of a 3.12 percent stake in aerospace group Safran (SAF.PA) and would use the proceeds to fund investments to bolster its economy.
The sale, which covers 13 million Safran shares held by the French state, will take the form of a placement with institutional investors via an accelerated book-building, the finance ministry said in a statement.
After the sale and depending on the number of shares sold, the state should remain Safran's top shareholder with a 27.08 percent stake and because of the double weighing of its voting rights it will have the same influence as before within the group's governance, it said.
"The state also intends to remain the reference shareholder within Safran's capital in the medium-term," the statement said.
Strong demand for aircraft engines, parts and lucrative aftermarket maintenance contracts pushed 2012 operating profit at Safran up 24 percent.
Safran shares closed up 0.2 percent at 35.49 euros on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon)
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