French state reaffirms Orange commitment - Mobile World Live

French state reaffirms Orange commitment

01 JUN 2016

The French government said it has no plans to sell its stake in Orange, following comments from Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron last week suggesting it would not keep the 23 per cent holding forever.

Orange’s recent consolidation talks with French rival Bouygues Telecom brought the government’s stake in the company into the spotlight. There was speculation that the state’s holdings would be diluted if the proposed €10 billion deal went through, a complicating factor in negotiations.

As part of the proposed terms, Bouygues would have become Orange’s second largest shareholder, behind the state.  The merger talks fell through but there is still interest about the government’s long term plans for its holding in Orange.

Martin Vial, head of France’s APE state holding agency, said at a hearing of the French parliament economic affairs committee that “the state currently doesn’t have any plan to exit Orange,” reports Reuters.

His comments follow suggestions by Macron last week at a senate hearing that the government would sell the stake if the price was right, while also maintaining that such a sale was not in its immediate plans.

The French government last year offloaded a 2 per cent stake in Orange to France’s public investment bank Bpifrance in a deal worth approximately €801 million, reducing its stake from 25 per cent to 23 per cent.

Two years ago, the government also reiterated its commitment to holding its position in Orange, despite launching a fundraising campaign, in which it was considering the sale of a number of state-owned assets.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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