UPDATE 1-Jean-Yves Gilet new head of French sovereign fund

Tue Aug 3, 2010 8:59pm GMT
 

(Adds details, background)

PARIS Aug 3 (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: Quote) executive Jean-Yves Gilet has been chosen to head France's state-backed FSI investment fund, the Economy Ministry and state bank Caisse des Depots said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Gilet will take the reins in September and replace outgoing Chief Executive Gilles Michel, who announced in June he was leaving for minerals company Imerys (IMTP.PA: Quote), the statement said. The FSI, 49 percent owned by Caisse des Depots and 51 percent by the government, was created in 2008 to protect so-called "strategic" French companies from the economic crisis.

Since then, the fund has bought stakes in companies including video games maker Ubisoft (UBIP.PA: Quote), dairy group Danone (DANO.PA: Quote), entertainment conglomerate Vivendi (VIV.PA: Quote) and catering company Sodexo (EXHO.PA: Quote).

The latest target in the fund's sights is struggling shipper CMA-CGM, which according to a union source is in exclusive talks to sell a joint 30 percent stake to the FSI fund and Belgian billionaire Albert Frere. [ID:nLDE66T1AB]

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Writing by Sophie Taylor; Editing by Andrew Hay) ((sophie.taylor@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 4949 5219; Reuters Messaging: sophie.taylor.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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