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Wendel moves to shore up its reputation

Family-controlled investment company Wendel said that it would appeal a €1.5 million fine imposed by the French market regulator AMF, as it attempts to bolster its reputation.

In a statement on 17 January, the Paris-based company said: "Wendel will appeal this ruling at the Paris Court of Appeal, which will hear in fact and law the evidence and key arguments presented by the group in order to demonstrate that Wendel has complied with the law and the regulations in force at the time."

Wendel has been fined for providing insufficient information when building a stake in French building materials company Saint-Gobain. AMF said that Wendel made derivatives contracts with four banks for Saint-Gobain assets and also gained access to €5.5 billion in financing from these banks. Though these agreements did not breach market regulations if taken individually, it had been done to gain a major stake in the building materials company, said AMF.

The Wendel case could affect the ongoing investigation into LVMH's purchase of a stake in the family-owned luxury company Hermes. Like Wendel, LVMH bought its stake in Hermes using derivatives contracts. The French regulators will not be giving their decision for sometime.

The Wendel Group was founded in 1704, with the family holding 46.4% of the company voting rights. Its current chairman is Ernest-Antoine Seilliere (pictured) and chief executive is Frederic Lemoine.

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