French govt looks to raise cash but Orange stake not on the block

French govt looks to raise cash but Orange stake not on the block

16 OCT 2014

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.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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