France to start selling down stakes in public companies from Sept – minister

French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire attends a national tribute ceremony for late French politician Simone Veil at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday that France would start selling down stakes it holds in companies from September to finance projects geared towards innovation.

“I have announced that we are going to sell stakes in a number of public companies from September, stakes that are not strategic, which will allow us to generate a fund of 10 billion euros to finance innovation,” Le Maire told lawmakers.

President Emmanuel Macron pledged during his election campaign to set up a fund to promote industrial and research projects, to be financed by selling down shares in companies in which the state owns a minority stake and by dividends from state-owned shares.

(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Leigh Thomas)