FRANCE – MGEN, France's mandatory health insurance pension fund for teachers, has denied it is looking to reduce its participation in the €10.2bn pension fund UMR.

In an interview with IPE last month, UMR's former chief executive, Charles Vaquier, said UMR was likely to appoint a permanent chief executive in August once a new investor interested in taking a majority stake in the scheme was found.

He added that the current chief executive, Christian Oyarbide, had only been appointed temporarily.  

However, a spokesman at MGEN, which currently owns 70% of the participating shares issued by UMR, said the scheme would retain its shares.

"The MGEN group has never had the intention to revise its participation in UMR and has no plan to sell its stake in the near future," he said.

He went on to say that Oyarbide agreed to take on a temporary role as chief executive at the UMR, as the scheme was seeking to "consolidate its operations and finds a new permanent chief executive".

Contacted by IPE, Oyarbide confirmed that UMR was indeed looking for new participants to acquire the participating shares the scheme would soon issue.

"However," he said, "those new participants will add to the list of investors we already have, and this, by no means, will lead to MGEN selling its shares."

According to Oyarbide, the search for new participants was part of the UMR's financial consolidation plans.

"These new participations would certainly help the scheme to increase its funding level in the future," he said.

UMR's funding ratio stood at 96.7% at the end of 2011 against 99.3% the year before.