France sold 4.7 percent of defense group Safran: finance minister

PARIS Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:34am EST

France's President and UMP party candidate for the 2012 French presidential elections Nicolas Sarkozy (R) visits the Safran Sagem defence security circuit boards plant in Fougeres, Western France, March 13, 2012. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

France's President and UMP party candidate for the 2012 French presidential elections Nicolas Sarkozy (R) visits the Safran Sagem defence security circuit boards plant in Fougeres, Western France, March 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

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PARIS (Reuters) - The French state has sold a 4.7 percent stake in defense contractor Safran (SAF.PA) in a share placement, generating proceeds of 900 million euros ($1.2 billion), Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Friday.

The share placement was done at 46.30 euros apiece, at the bottom of the range of 46.30-to-market, a 3.6 percent discount from the stock's closing price of 48.04 euros on Thursday, according to traders.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Citigroup acted as joint book runners on the deal, traders said.

France will remain a key shareholder of Safran with at least 22.4 percent, Moscovici said in a statement.

Shares of Safran were down 3.5 percent, at 46.38 euros on Friday morning.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson, editing by Geert De Clercq)

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