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France Launches Sale of State Aluminum Giant

November 13, 1995

PARIS (AP) _ The French government officially kicked off the privatization of aluminum maker Pechiney SA late Monday, saying it will sell some 21 million shares in the world’s leading producer of beverage cans.

Estimates of the likely proceeds from the sale of the government’s stake in the company, currently 57 percent, range from around 6 billion to 8 billion francs, or from about $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion.

A Finance Ministry spokeswoman said the government is expected to sell almost all of its holding in Pechiney, but offered no estimate of the likely size of its minority stake after the sale.

The sale’s first stage, in which individual investors may place orders for shares, begins Tuesday.

The ministry did not disclose an exact price for Pechiney shares, but indicated that institutional investors can expect to pay between 187 to 215 francs, or about $38 to $44 a share.

Pechiney is the largest aluminum producer in Europe, ranking No. 4 in the world. It earned about $134 million in the first half of this year.

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