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CNP to Invest Up to 2 Billion Euros in Infrastructure Lending

CNP Assurances SA, France’s largest life insurer, plans to invest as much as 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in infrastructure loans over the next three years as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis pushes the region’s insurers to seek new investments.

CNP Assurances and Natixis, the corporate and investment bank controlled by French lender Groupe BPCE, agreed to create a partnership in funding new infrastructure debt, the companies, both based in Paris, said in a statement today. Natixis signed a similar deal last year with Belgian insurer Ageas.

“You see a need for diversification, returns and long-term assets” for life-insurance investments, said Nicolas Jacob, an analyst at Oddo & Cie. in Paris who has a neutral rating on CNP Assurances. Infrastructure debt “is typically the class of assets sought after.”

Natixis will set up infrastructure loans and will keep “a significant part” of each transaction “all along the life of the operation,” according to the statement.

CNP rose 0.8 percent to 11.71 euros by noon in Paris trading, bringing the gain this year to 0.9 percent. Natixis climbed 0.5 percent to 3.54 euros, and has advanced 39 percent this year.

CNP will pick the loans in which it wants to invest, aiming for single investments between 50 million euros and 150 million euros, according to the statement.

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