February 9, 2018 / 11:39 AM / 16 days ago

France targets deep pockets of Emirati wealth funds

PARIS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will look to deep-pocketed sovereign wealth funds in the United Arab Emirates to further investments in France when he carries his “France is back” pitch to Abu Dhabi and Dubai this weekend, a government source said.

Among the investors Philippe will meet are the heads of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Mubadala Investment Company , the official said.

Under President Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker, the government has cut corporate tax and approved new flat-rate levy on capital gains, as well as easing labor regulations to spur growth and restore France’s image among investors.

“The goal is to win investments that bring benefit to the economy, which create growth and jobs,” the source at the prime minister’s office, known as Matignon, said.

The source said ADIA’s investments were “very concentrated in real estate”, adding: “We would be very open to investments by these funds, and others, that are a little more productive.”

When Macron visited Abu Dhabi in November, Mubadala and French state-backed investment vehicles CDC International Capital and Bpifrance signed an agreement to invest up to 1 billion euros ($1.23 billion) in the French economy. The deal did not give a timescale.

The first part of the plan involves raising the size and scope of an existing co-investment partnership, known as FEF, which was launched in 2014 by Mubadala and CDC International Capital, a subsidiary of French state-owned Caisse des Dépôts Group aimed at investing alongside sovereign wealth funds.

The second part of the agreement, dedicated to technology and innovation in France, will involve Bpifrance, co-owned by Caisse des Dépôts and the French government, and Mubadala investing up to 500 million euros in startups and more mature technology companies through both direct investments and venture capital funds.

Philippe will meet investors in Abu Dhabi on Saturday before attending the World Government Summit in Dubai a day later.

($1 = 0.8157 euros)

Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Toby Chopra

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