France may direct funds towards home companies - minister

PARIS Wed May 21, 2014 3:26am EDT

PARIS May 21 (Reuters) - France is considering steps that would direct the investments of financial institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies towards French companies, according to Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.

"We have this huge national savings pot, 1,300 billion euros in life insurance," Montebourg told a parliamentary committee late on Tuesday. "We have not yet decided to increase the level of constraint on insurance companies so that they invest more in the main businesses of our country. We could do that."

"We need this money, these billions, these hundreds of billions invested in our companies," he said during a hearing about engineering group Alstom's plan to sell its power arm to General Electric of the United States.

"We're not penniless, we're not devoid of resources, but we have not taken this kind of decision. I think it might have to be taken," he said. (Reporting by Yann Le Guernigou; writing by Andrew Callus; editing by Mark John)

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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