Groupama shores up balance sheet with €518m SocGen sale

City A.M. Reporter
FRENCH insurer Groupama has sold its remaining stake in bank Societe Generale for €517.8m (£445m) as it continues moves to shore up its balance sheet.

Groupama, which had come under pressure from ratings agencies, said that the sale of its 1.86 per cent Societe Generale stake would allow it to boost financial flexibility and cut its exposure to market risks.

The insurer has made a series of disposals, including its Spanish and British subsidiaries, since taking a hit on its Greek debt holdings in 2011 and 2012.

The 14.88m Societe Generale shares, sold through an accelerated book building, were placed at €34.8 per share, traders said yesterday.

The price represented a 2.3 per cent discount from Monday’s close of €35.60.

As recently as the end of 2010 Groupama was one of Societe Generale’s key shareholders, with 4.25 per cent of its capital and 6.32 per cent of voting rights.

HSBC and Goldman Sachs were the bookrunners on the Societe Generale placement, a trader said.

Groupama’s UK subsidiary – Groupama Insurance – is headquartered in London and has five further branches across the company, employing more than 800 staff.