October 9, 2018 / 4:24 PM / a month ago

French lawmakers back privatizations, corporate law overhaul

The logo of Groupe ADP (Aeroports de Paris) is seen during the presentation of the company's 2018 half-year results in Paris, France, July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - French lawmakers gave their backing in a first reading on Tuesday to an overhaul of corporate law aimed at cutting red tape for companies and setting several privatizations in motion.

The legislation is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business reform drive that has already eased labor laws and cut taxes on companies and entrepreneurs.

The law aims to make it faster and cheaper to register and wind down companies while also simplifying a complex system that imposes new regulations in multiple stages as firms increase their workforce.

It includes incentives to make profit-sharing more common among small firms and encourage employees’ voluntary contributions to all types of savings products.

The bill also sets the stage for several large privatizations already flagged by the government, with the proceeds due to finance a new 10 billion euros ($11.49 billion)innovation fund.

It will in particular lift legal restraints on selling down stakes in airport operator ADP (ADP.PA) and energy group Engie (ENGIE.PA) while allowing the national lottery FDJ to be privatized.

Some 361 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted in favor of the law while 84 were against and 103 abstained from voting.

The bill now goes before the Senate for consideration in January before returning to the lower house for a final vote. ($1 = 0.8706 euros)

Reporting by Myriam Rivet; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Ingrid Melander

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