France: Investors May Be Sated

It was another successful privatization, but one that sent some alarming signals. When the books closed on May 5 on the stock sale of Union des Assurances de Paris, France's largest insurance company, the government could claim the deal was oversubscribed. But demand was far weaker than in earlier sell-offs, such as the January sale of French oil giant Elf Aquitaine Inc., when investors sought 12 times the available shares. And although the UAP sell-off earned $3.4 billion for the government, the take was $1 billion less than originally expected.

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