EDF shares bought without permission

22 December 2005 - A number of complaints have been made to France's market watchdog against banks involved in the flotation of EDF last month, accusing them of buying EDF shares on their behalf without authorization and failing to compensate them for the resulting loses.

Dozens of complaints have been received by the AMF from individual customers as well as consumer groups and individual banks. Many customers discovered that their accounts had been debited to buy EDF shares and the AMF said it is taking the matter seriously.

Two banks which acted as advisers to the French government over the sale, Credit Lyonnais and Société Générale, confirmed Tuesday that they had received a handful of complaints and said that clients would be reimbursed immediately.

EDF shares came to market on 21 November when 213 per cent of the stock was sold in a hastily arranged flotation, organized that way to head of public and union protests.

The share sale was criticised by analysts as being too expensive but it attracted a record 4.8m private buyers becoming the world's biggest share sale for five years. The share price fell on the first day of trading and investors unwilling to hold the stock were left with a loss on their investment.

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