June 21, 2018 / 5:38 PM / in 6 months

UPDATE 1-France to keep an eye on future Engie shareholders

(Adds comments on Air France, ADP, Renault, background)

PARIS, June 21 (Reuters) - France will be attentive as to who replaces the French government in the capital of gas utility Engie and will not let it fall under Anglo-American or Chinese control, the head of state holding company APE said on Thursday.

France is setting the stage for several large privatisations, including Engie, airport operator ADP and the national lottery FDJ, with some of the proceeds earmarked for a new 10 billion euro innovation fund.

Some left-wing and far-right politicians have said the sales amounted to selling the family jewels, while others have raised concerns about strategic companies being snapped up by companies controlled by rival powers.

“We can’t imagine that Engie’s capital would be dominated by Anglo-Saxon or Chinese interests,” APE head Martin Vial told BFM Business TV.

Several European countries have voiced concerns about state-owned Chinese companies taking control of strategic European firms or infrastructure in recent years.

China Three Gorges announced a takeover bid for Portugal’s biggest utility EDP last month.

“We are very attentive about what’s going on in Portugal at the moment,” he said. “So any change in Engie’s capital will prompt us to be vigilant about which shareholders will replace the state,” he added.

Vial said the state would also seek to preserve French interests in Air France-KLM and Renault, companies which already have foreign shareholders. (Reporting by Michel Rose Editing by Geert de Clercq)

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