January 25, 2018 / 3:03 PM / 24 days ago

Caisse des Depots looks at takeover of French postal service: report

PARIS (Reuters) - French public sector lender Caisse des Depots (CDC) is looking at taking control of the French postal service La Poste as part of a review under new president Eric Lombard, French newspaper Les Echos reported.

The newspaper said La Poste, which owns a bank with a balance sheet of 230 billion euros ($286.95 billion), has long wanted to merge with insurer CNP Assurances (CNPP.PA) to diversify its range of businesses.

CDC has a 41 percent stake in CNP Assurances and Lombard considers that if La Poste takes control of CNP Assurances, then under CDC supervision, the state would secure and consolidate dividends, the paper reported.

La Poste already has an 18 percent stake in CNP via Sopassure, a joint holding with French cooperating lender BPCE. BPCE also controls French bank Natixis (CNAT.PA).

CDC said in a statement to Reuters that all options were possible, including the “status quo.”

“Nothing is decided. For La Poste, CNP Assurances, as for other our investments, we will take into account three criteria: the long-term interest of the company for its employees, general interest and the economic interest for Caisse des Depots,” CDC said in the statement

    “To sum it up, if an operation is done, it needs to make sense for the institution it (CDC) manages.”

    La Poste and CNP Assurances declined to comment.

    The French government owns a 73.68 percent stake in La Poste via the state holding agency APE.

    ($1 = 0.8015 euros)

    Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva. Editing by Jane Merriman

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