Belgium, France to own almost 96 percent of Dexia

BRUSSELS Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:31pm IST

The Dexia tower is seen in La Defense, near Paris, November 8, 2012. Belgium and France will pay 5.5 billion euros ($7 billion) to take almost full control of Dexia in the hope this third bailout will be the last for the bank that was once the world's largest municipal lender. REUTERS/John Schults

The Dexia tower is seen in La Defense, near Paris, November 8, 2012. Belgium and France will pay 5.5 billion euros ($7 billion) to take almost full control of Dexia in the hope this third bailout will be the last for the bank that was once the world's largest municipal lender.

Credit: Reuters/John Schults

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium and France are set to own almost 96 percent of Dexia (DEXI.BR), with the free float slipping to 1.9 percent, after the two nations agreed to keep the lender afloat with 5.5 billion euros ($7.0 billion) of fresh funds.

Dexia's board has approved the plan, which will now be put to an extraordinary shareholder meeting on December 21, saying the states would buy new preference shares at 0.19 euro apiece.

Belgium will pay 2.9 billion euros and France 2.6 billion. Combined, they will receive 28.95 billion new preference shares.

There are currently about 1.95 billion outstanding shares, with Belgium and France already both holding stakes of 5.7 percent. French state bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC) is the largest shareholder with 17.6 percent and CNP Assurances, a CDC subsidiary, 3.0 percent.

The existing free float is 30.4 percent and it will drop to 1.9 percent after the capital injection.

The deal needs to be approved by European Union regulators. ($1 = 0.7856 euro) (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop)

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