August 3, 2010 / 9:00 PM / 7 years ago

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

(Adds details, background)

PARIS, Aug 3 (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal ISPA.AS 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), 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), dairy group Danone (DANO.PA), entertainment conglomerate Vivendi (VIV.PA) and catering company Sodexo (EXHO.PA).

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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