PARIS Jan 13 Francois Fillon, the conservative
politician seen by opinion polls as most likely to win the
French presidential election this year, says France should sell
state stakes in firms deemed as not having a strategic
importance for the country.
"The state should only be a shareholder in strategic
companies," Fillon said in an interview with French magazine
Capital. He declined in the published interview to name any
individual companies to which this might apply.
He also told Capital that France "must not show any signs of
weakness" in terms of ensuring French technology companies could
challenge bigger international rivals such as Google,
Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
Fillon's interview echoed similar comments last month, when
he said he was favourable towards privatisations of state
shareholdings in order to raise cash for investments in major
Fillon, a former Prime Minister, said in December France
should sell out of "unnecessary investments" in private-sector
companies, citing carmaker Renault as an example.
The French government holds just under 20 percent of Renault
and has significant stakes in several other large companies
including Air France, Airbus, Peugeot
, Orange and Engie.
(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by