France sells Elf stake

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The Independent Online
France sold a 9.1 per cent stake in oil company Elf Aquitaine, raising about Fr10bn (pounds 1.19bn) to be used to help loss-making state-owned companies.

The Finance Ministry said it sold 4.6 per cent of Elf, or 12.58 million shares, to institutional investors via Banque Paribas and SBC Warburg.

It also sold 4.5 per cent, or 12.32 million shares, of France's largest oil company to Fingestval, a unit of Elf.

The proceeds of the sale would go to a fund used to inject cash into ailing state-owned companies, the ministry said.

"With Elf's sale we'll more than meet our asset sale objective," said a government spokesman. After Elf's sale, the state will have raised Fr27bn from asset sales this year.