BNP sell-off attracts pounds 13bn

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The Independent Online
ALMOST pounds 13bn of investment cash chased pounds 1bn worth of shares on offer to French and foreign investors in the privatisation of Banque Nationale de Paris, it emerged last night, writes Peter Rodgers.

As a result of the 12 times oversubscription the economy ministry closed the offer to French and foreign institutions early. British institutions were expected to be the biggest European buyers outside France. The spectacular success is likely to reinforce accusations in France that the price of BNP was set too low to get the first of the new wave of privatisations off to a good start.

Marc Vienot, chairman of Societe Generale, was quoted last night as claiming BNP itself tried to talk its share price down ahead of privatisation, but failed. He referred to repeated profit warnings issued by Michel Pebereau, the BNP chairman, in the run-up to Monday's pricing of BNP shares at Fr240. But quoted non-voting shares rose sharply to Fr280 yesterday.