France raises stake in Valeo to 7.34 pct through state bank Bpifrance

PARIS, April 29 (Reuters) - France has raised its stake in car parts group Valeo to just above 7 percent, through state bank Bpifrance as it looks to protect leading companies from activist shareholders.

Bpifrance said on Monday that it had bought more shares in Valeo to take its direct stake in Valeo to 5.2 percent. Combined with a 2.14 percent stake in Valeo held by Caisse des Depots (CDC), which is another French state financial entity, the French state now holds 7.34 percent of Valeo.

“Convinced of Valeo’s significant growth prospects, Bpifrance will be engaged alongside the group over the long term,” said Bpifrance’s chief executive Nicolas Dufourcq.

The French government’s stake in Valeo is now higher than the one held by activist fund Harris Associates. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Inti Landauro)