World Economy

France to Sell Off State Assets

France to Sell Off State AssetsFrance to Sell Off State Assets

France is to sell off state assets to help raise billions of euros to finance innovation, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said, confirming Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire’s declaration that a series of privatizations will be announced in the next few weeks.

The government will sell off some state assets, Philippe said in a radio interview on Sunday, but not necessarily 100% ownership of companies that are currently nationalized, Reuters reported.

He refrained from using the word “privatization”, unlike Le Maire on Saturday. “In a few weeks’ time I am going to announce that we will privatize certain companies to raise money to finance innovation,” the economy minister told a business conference in Italy.

During his election campaign, President Emmanuel Macron promised to raise €10 billion ($11.92 billion) for a fund to finance innovation, partly from profits from state assets but also possibly from privatization.

Among the companies that are expected to be sold off is national lottery company, La Francaise des Jeux, which had a €14.3 billion turnover in 2016.

Despite the privatization programs of successive governments, the French state has a controlling interest in 1,600 companies, employing about 1.1 million workers, notably in transport, energy and telecommunications.

In a separate interview with the Journal du Dimanche paper, Philippe welcomed the fact that only one major union federation is committed to fighting the labor reform that is being introduced in a form of decree but added that its success will be “not be measured against the union but against unemployment”, which the government claims will be reduced by the changes.

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