Rexel shareholder Ray Investment cuts stake further

PARIS Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:48am EST

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PARIS (Reuters) - Rexel's (RXL.PA) top shareholder, Ray Investment, said it sold a further 7 percent stake in the electrical equipment supplier, in a move that will see Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) exit the French company.

The sale of the 20 million shares was completed at 17.9 euros each, below Monday's closing price of 18.425 euros and indicating a deal value of 358 million euros ($492 million).

Ray Investment, controlled by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Eurazeo (EURA.PA), Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the Caisse des Depots et Consignations du Quebec, will retain about 16.5 percent of Rexel's share capital and voting rights.

Ray Investment said the proceeds would be shared between its owners, excluding Eurazeo.

"Following the sale, funds controlled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch will no longer be shareholders of Ray Investment, nor indirect shareholders of Rexel," Ray Investment said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's exit will see Eurazeo hold 55 percent of Ray Investment, with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice holding 35 percent, and Caisse des Depots et Consignations du Quebec the rest.

Ray Investment has been steadily reducing its stake in Rexel, and this marks the fourth sizeable sale this year. It disposed of a 14.7 percent chunk in February and shed a further 10 percent in June. In August, it sold a 10 percent stake for 526 million euros.

The latest placement was carried out through an accelerated bookbuilding with institutional investors managed by Goldman Sachs.

Rexel shares were down 1 percent at 18.245 euros by 1102 GMT. The stock is up about 19 percent this year.

Ray Investment said it reiterated its support for Rexel's management. Rexel confirmed its full-year outlook on October 31.

($1 = 0.7271 euros)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Blaise Robinson and Louise Heavens)

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