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China fund takes $2.8 bln stake in France’s Total - paper

MNB

The body that manages the bulk of China’s $1.65 trillion in foreign exchange reserves has bought a $2.8 billion stake in France’s Total, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Friday.

China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or Safe, began building its 1.6% stake in the French oil group, valued at €1.8 billion ($2.82 billion), several months ago, the newspaper said, quoting a person close to the company. The investment was done with the full knowledge of Total -- the world’s fourth-largest oil firm and France’s biggest company by value -- and representatives of Safe are likely to have met Total’s team, the person said. Safe, which operates under the country’s central bank, usually invests most of its funds in low-yielding securities, such as Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, but FT said the falling US dollar has also put pressure on it to diversify its portfolio.

A Total spokesman told Reuters on Thursday, that a state-owned Chinese investment fund had been buying shares in the firm in recent months, but hadn’t given a value or named the fund. (Reuters)

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