France's Nexans agrees to end lock-up deal with top shareholder

PARIS/SANTIAGO Thu May 22, 2014 4:32pm EDT

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PARIS/SANTIAGO (Reuters) - French cable maker Nexans (NEXS.PA), fresh from a management shake-up spurred by shareholder pressure, said on Thursday it would allow its top shareholder, Invexans IVX.SN, to end an agreement that locked its holdings at a set level.

Nexans said Invexans, a Chilean copper group, would no longer be obliged to hold between 25 percent and 28 percent, a legacy from a 2011 deal.

Invexans, which is controlled by Chile's wealthy Luksic family via holding company Quinenco QNN.SN, said that terminating the agreement would send a good signal.

"Invexans shall exercise, from now onwards, its right as any other shareholder," the company said in a statement.

The move, alongside last week's management reshuffle, would allow Nexans to "focus on its strategic priorities," it added.

Nexans, which was facing a shareholder rebellion after poor earnings performances, defeated a motion to oust chairman and chief executive Frederic Vincent, but brought in the chief operating officer to take over the CEO part of his role.

Invexans pledged on Thursday to keep its board representation - currently three directors - proportionate to its shareholding. The Chilean group has said it was not seeking to take control of the French company and had no plans to cut its stake or increase it above 30 percent.

(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva in Paris and Rosalba O'Brien in Santiago; Editing by Grant McCool)

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