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French insurers respond to investment call


PARIS—French insurers held €15.7 billion ($19.68 billion) in the unlisted securities of innovative and growth companies at June 2006, up €1.3 billion from the end of 2005, according to a study by the Fédération Française des Sociétés d'Assurances (FFSA).

Insurers' overall holdings in unlisted securities accounted for 1.3% of their total managed assets at June 30, up from 1.2% at December 31, 2005, the FFSA reported.

However, "insurers' overall holdings held stable in terms of market value compared to the previous quarter, which ended March 31, mainly due to an exceptional and unexpected level of retirements [of securities], during the second quarter," according to the report.In September 2004, FFSA members agreed with the French government to increase their overall stake in the unlisted securities by €6 billion by 2007, primarily in innovative and growth businesses, said Marie-Hélène Rivaud, a spokesman for the Federation.

"As part of that commitment, we report on our members' holdings on a quarterly basis," Ms. Rivaud continued. The next update is scheduled for the end of 2006.The report said FFSA-member insurers had already met their commitment, increasing their holdings by €6.9 billion since December 2003.

The study examined investments of 125 companies or groups that are FFSA members. The total investments of these companies make up about 96% of all FFSA members' investments, according to the Federation.