24 Jul 2007

French company Eramet sees no change in shareholding

9:28 am on 24 July 2007

The chief executive of French metal and nickel mining group Eramet has denied reports of a big change in the company's shareholding, saying that the business should remain anchored in France.

Patrick Buffet told shareholders that Eramet has not been informed of any accord or draft accord which justifies a communication to the market.

Two shareholders, the French state-controlled nuclear power group Areva, and Sorame-Ceir representing the Duval family, control more than 60 percent of the capital of Eramet, which is the biggest employer in the French territory of New Caledonia.

French newspapers last week said Duval was planning to sell its stake to Areva.

On Monday, shareholders approved an increase in the share held by the New Caledonia's authorities in local subsidiary SLN to 34 percent from 30 percent previously, as provided for in a 2000 shareholder pact.

Eramet chief executive, Patrick Buffet, said that through the transaction Eramet "strengthens SLN's link with New Caledonia" and guarantees a "certain social peace" in New Caledonia, where the subsidiary has been beset by strikes.