UPDATE 1-Blue Flame sells 8.7 pct stake in Italy's Ascopiave

Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:15am EST

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MILAN Feb 14 (Reuters) - Investment firm Blue Flame said on Friday it had sold its 8.7 percent stake in Italian gas distribution company Ascopiave.

The stake, offered to Italian and foreign institutional investors via an accelerated bookbuild, was sold at a price of 1.74 euros per share, a source close to the matter told Reuters, at a discount to the group's Thursday closing price of 1.96 euros.

Investment fund Amber Capital bought part of the stake, two sources close to the situation added. "Amber bought a significant stake," said one of the sources, referring to a holding of more than 2 percent. "Several investors have come in," the source said.

Blue Flame invested in the gas group in 2008 and gradually increased its stake to become Ascopiave's second-biggest shareholder, it said in a statement.

"Blue Flame expresses its satisfaction with the results of this investment and confirms its confidence in the growth prospects of Ascopiave," it said.

Ascopiave's shares fell as much as 7.6 percent to a five-week low and were down 4.16 percent at 1.89 euros by 0940 GMT, compared with a 0.95 percent rise in Milan's All-Share index. Ascopiave had no immediate comment.

Equita and Intermonte were acting as joint bookrunners in the deal, while Nextam Partners was the financial advisor. (Reporting by Reporting by Elisa Anzolin, Claudia Cristoferi and Valentina Za, writing by Agnieszka Flak. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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