Groupama sells last of SocGen stake for 518 million euros

PARIS Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:01am EDT

The logo of French bank Societe Generale is seen on a building in the financial district of La Defense near Paris August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The logo of French bank Societe Generale is seen on a building in the financial district of La Defense near Paris August 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

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PARIS (Reuters) - French insurer Groupama GRPMHA.UL has sold its remaining stake in bank Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) for 517.8 million euros ($688.3 million) as it continues moves to shore up its balance sheet.

Groupama, which had come under pressure from ratings agencies, said on Monday that the sale of its 1.86 percent SocGen stake would allow it to boost financial flexibility and cut its exposure to market risks.

The insurer has made a series of disposals, including its Spanish and British subsidiaries, since taking a hit on its Greek debt holdings in 2011 and 2012.

The 14.88 million SocGen shares, sold through an accelerated book building, were placed at 34.8 euros per share, traders said on Tuesday.

The price represented a 2.3 percent discount from Monday's close of 35.60 euros.

As recently as the end of 2010 Groupama was one of SocGen's key shareholders, with 4.25 percent of its capital and 6.32 percent of voting rights.

SocGen shares were down 1.4 percent at 35.10 euros in early trading on the Paris bourse, underperforming the sector .SX7P, which was up 0.1 percent. SocGen's stock had risen 41 percent since early July.

HSBC (HSBA.L) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) were the bookrunners on the SocGen placement, a trader said.

($1 = 0.7523 euros)

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson and Christian Plumb; Editing by David Goodman)

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