Besson IPO sees a slight first-day gain


NEW YORK -- Shares of director Luc Besson's EuropaCorp. edged up a bit in their stock market debut on Paris.

The independent company, listed under Paris ticker symbol ECP, saw its stock rise as high as €15.85 before closing up 1.9% on Friday at €15.79 ($21.53).

The 4.5 million shares issued in the €70 million ($95.3 million) initial public offering had been priced at €15.50 each. The company previously slated up to 5.5 million shares for its float at a price range of €14-€16.25.

Besson said that the public float is the start of "a new stage in the development of our group and the deployment of our strategy for international-scale expansion."

The company had said the IPO would raise money to allow it to better compete with Hollywood studios.

EuropaCorp. is best known for its "Taxi" franchise and animated children's film "Arthur and the Invisibles."

Besson, who after the IPO controls 63.2% of the company, has directed such movies as "The Fifth Element" and "Le Grand Bleu."

Launched in 1999, EuropaCorp. has produced or co-produced about 50 movies.

Reuters contributed to this report.