Groupama’s Sale of Its Silic Shareholding Is ‘Well Under Way,’ Union Says

Groupama SA’s talks on the sale of the French insurer’s stake in real-estate company Silic (SIL) SA with Caisse des Depots et Consignations are “well under way,” a Groupama union representative said.

“The decisions that are currently being taken are going in the right direction. We are confident,” Ludovic Mallet, national representative for the CFE-CGC union, said by telephone today. Groupama’s board met yesterday and the sale of the firm’s stake in Silic “might be announced soon,” he said, without elaborating.

Caisse des Depots et Consignations, the Paris-based state- owned bank, and customer-owned Groupama are in talks about CDC participating in Silic through an exchange with Icade SA (ICAD) shares, Groupama said Dec. 4.

The Paris-based insurer owns a 44 percent stake in Silic, which has a market value of 1.25 billion euros ($1.65 billion).

Veronique Le Goff, a Paris-based spokeswoman at Groupama, declined to comment, as did CDC spokesman Alexis Nugues. No one was immediately available to comment at Icade nor at Silic.

Groupama, hurt by losses on Greek sovereign debt and declines in stock investments, named Thierry Martel as chief executive officer in October, ending the 11-year-long tenure of his predecessor, Jean Azema. The company approved on Nov. 25 a a 500 million-euro capital injection from the group of regional insurance firms that own its holding company to help improve solvency “flexibility.”

CDC plans to buy a 6.5 percent stake in Silic immediately, Le Figaro said today, without citing anyone. The bank and Groupama plan to combine Silic and Icade later, with CDC owning 40 percent and the insurer keeping a 10 percent stake in the new entity, the newspaper said.

CDC is also planning to inject 300 million euros via preference shares in Groupama’s unit Gan Eurocourtage, Le Figaro said.

“Caisse des Depots et Consignations is likely to inject capital into Gan Eurocourtage, but this would take place at the start of the first half of 2012,” Mallet said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fabio Benedetti-Valentini in Paris at fabiobv@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net; Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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