September 14, 2017 / 2:19 PM / 2 years ago

France likely to cut Orange stake, executive says

The logo of Orange is pictured at the shop in central Chisinau, Moldova, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

WARSAW (Reuters) - The French government is likely to reduce its 23 percent stake in telecommunications company Orange (ORAN.PA), the company’s head of European operations said on Thursday.

Asked about a potential reduction in the stake, Gervais Pellissier said: “the new government has been in place only since early July ... the government has not made a specific announcement. But based on the general announcement, this is probable”.

In July, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France would begin selling stakes it holds in companies over the coming months to finance projects geared toward innovation.

Pellissier also said during a visit to Warsaw that Orange was not planning acquisitions in Europe in the short term.

“Don’t expect consolidation in our view in the short term,” Pellissier said. “The focus is to develop in the eight countries where we are present.”

Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in PARIS; Editing by Mark Potter

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