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Bouygues Investors Tendered More Shares Than Buyback Offer

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Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Bouygues SA investors tendered almost four times more stock than the French construction and media company offered to buy back in order to boost earnings per share.

Investors tendered 163 million shares to the company’s 30 euros a share buyback offer, stock exchange operator NYSE Euronext said in a filing published today by Autorite des Marches Financiers. Bouygues had offered to purchase as many as 41.7 million shares.

The builder, which holds 90 percent of France’s third-largest mobile-phone operator, 43 percent of television broadcaster TF1 and 31 percent of train- and power-equipment maker Alstom SA, had no better investment option given its “very prudent” fiscal management than to buy back 1.25 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in shares, Chief Executive Officer Martin Bouygues said on Aug. 31.

Standard and Poor’s said on Sept. 1 it may cut the French company’s “A-” credit rating, citing a “less conservative” financial policy and an expected drop in free cash flow generation in the next 12 months because of an increase in capital expenditures such as the purchase of new wireless spectrum.

Bouygues shares rose as much as 4.1 percent and were up 0.2 percent to 24.71 euros at 1:49 p.m. in Paris. The stock has dropped 23 percent this year.

Bouygues said in August that the shares to be bought back, which represent about 11.7 percent of the company’s capital, will be canceled to boost earnings per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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