Peugeot Sells BNP Stake for $229 Million to Boost Funds

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- PSA Peugeot Citroen sold its BNP Paribas SA stake for about 177 million euros ($229 million) to boost the financing of Europe’s second-largest carmaker.

The sale of the 4 million shares was carried out through an accelerated book building, with Societe Generale SA acting as the sole lead manager and book runner, the Paris-based automaker said today. The price was 44.24 euros a share.

Peugeot has been selling assets to raise funds as Europe’s auto market sinks for a sixth straight year in 2013. Disposals have included the Citer vehicle-rental business and a majority of the Gefco trucking unit. The French company also sold a 1 billion-euro bond last month.

Peugeot reported a 576 million-euro operating loss for 2012 as a recession caused industrywide sales in the region to slump. Chief Executive Officer Philippe Varin vowed on Feb. 13 to put Peugeot on a break-even level by end of 2014 through spending reductions and a new strategy that includes moving its Peugeot brand upscale.

France’s government offered guarantees last year for as much as 7 billion euros of new bond sales by the Banque PSA Finance unit. Peugeot has won temporary European Union approval to sell 1.2 billion euros in government-backed bonds and must present more details of the plan to win full approval.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chad Thomas in Berlin at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Reiter at creiter2@bloomberg.net