CHANTENAY-VILLEDIEU, France, Dec 1 (Reuters) - France’s conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon on Thursday said he was favourable towards privatisations of state shareholdings in order to raise cash for investments in major infrastructure projects.
Fillon, whom opinion pollsters currently see as the person most likely to win next year’s presidential election, added that France should sell out of “unnecessary investments” in private sector companies and cited carmaker Renault as an example.
“We are in a country which is riddled with debts, where public state functions take up nearly all the country’s resources, a country with terrible debts which will have to face higher borrowing costs in the months or years to come,” Fillon told reporters.
“So, this is a country which is no longer investing. How do we make investments when we don’t have money? My own view is that I want to restart on privatisations,” he added.
“If we take the example of Renault, I don’t get the feeling presence of the state as a Renault shareholder stopped Renault from investing massively in overseas. So that’s a bad reason to stay (a shareholder)”.
The French government has just under 20 percent of Renault. It also has significant holdings in several other large companies including Air France, Airbus, Peugeot, Orange AND Engie.
Reporting by Simon Carraud; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Callus