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France to protect strategic assets by nationalizing companies

The French government is considering nationalizing, for a limited period of time, those companies suffering from the financial market turmoil due to the coronavirus epidemic, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.

“It is simply a matter of having the state protect companies, for a limited period, by taking a stake or possibly by making a temporary nationalization,” Le Maire told France 24 and RFI radio.

The Eiffel Tower glitters twice as long as usual to thank and support hospital staff during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Paris, France, March 23, 2020.
The Eiffel tower stands tall in times of crisis. It glitters twice as long to support healthcare and hospital staff.

“The state did not intend to manage commercial companies but had the responsibility to protect the strategic assets,” he added.

The minister noted that the government would use all means, including recapitalization, to support enterprises affected by coronavirus outbreak, notably those dealing with auto, transport and tourism businesses.

“It is extremely brutal for millions of entrepreneurs in our country. The recovery will be long, difficult and costly,” Le Maire said.

Working to mitigate the epidemic economic fallout, the French government was mobilizing 45 billion euros to help companies stay afloat through the virus outbreak, consisting in large part of tax and payroll charge deferrals.

Among the other remedies, struggling domestic firms would benefit from state loans guarantees worth 300 billion euros, which could help commercial banks reduce potential exposure to loan losses

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