France eyes state energy, transport firms after talking of divestment

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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new government will take a closer look at how big state energy and transport groups are managed, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday, days after flagging a strategy of state divestment.

“I want us … to take a closer look at the management and the overall economic balance of big state energy and transport companies to ensure they are run in the best way possible,” Le Maire told BFM TV.

Earlier this week, Le Maire said France would begin selling stakes it holds in companies over the coming months to finance projects geared towards innovation.

Le Maire did not identify the companies, although analysts say France could cut its 5.7 percent stake in construction company Eiffage, its 28.65 percent in utility Engie, its 50.63 percent in airport operator ADP or its 23.05 percent in telecom operator Orange.

Le Maire also said in an interview on BFM TV that he hoped the government could end a workers’ dispute at car parts supplier GM&S, which is seeking to finalize a rescue deal.

(Reporting by Simon Carraud and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Brian Love)

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