As part of a fundraising intended to kickstart national growth, the French government is considering the sale of a number of state-owned assets – but the approximately 25 per cent stake it controls in Orange is not one of them, confirmed Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.
Earlier the minister (pictured) outlined plans to raise between €5 billion and €10 billion from state assets over the next 18 months, an increase from the €4 billion figure announced by the country’s finance ministry on 1 October.
But one of the French state’s prime assets is not heading towards investors, at least for the moment. “For the companies you have cited (Orange and Renault), that is not a priority for the time being, and our desire is not to reduce stakes in those two companies,” said Macron, speaking with France Inter radio.
The French state has a variety of other assets to choose from, including energy giant EDF, Air France-KLM and PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Earlier this month, French state-owned bank Bpifrance reduced its stake in Orange from 13.5 per cent to 11.6 per cent. The bank raised €580 million through the sale, which took advantage of a steep increase in Orange’s share price this year. The sale reduced the government’s stake in Orange to approximately 25 per cent.
The government wants to use asset sales as a means to kickstart the beleaguered French economy. The French state has stakes in 74 companies worth more than €100 billion.