The French government aims to raise sufficient money for a new innovation fund for investing in next generation technologies.
On Thursday, in a significant development, French lawmakers have adopted a bill that aims to kickstart a wave of privatizations, including the sale of the state’s stake in airports group ADP. The move is largely aimed at raising cash for a new innovation fund.
The ‘Assemblee Nationale’, in which President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist LREM party has a commanding majority has voted in favor of the “Loi Pacte” legislation bill, with 147 votes in favor of the bill versus 50 against.
“This is a law which will help our economy and prepare us for the future,” said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. “We want to make ADP a world champion in terms of airport traffic”.
Macron’s government has consistently stated it aims to start the ADP privatization process in 2019. The plan had come under some criticism by some opposition lawmakers who said it could result in job cuts or a loss of control over key national assets.
Macron’s privatization proposals form part of the French government’s broader strategy to raise enough funds so as to boost the economy and finance technological innovations in the country.
In 2018, Le Maire had made it clear that France would block any move by a foreign power to gain control of ADP.
Based on current market prices, the French state’s 50.6% shareholding in ADP is worth around $9.92 billion (8.8 billion euros).
Privatizations are only part of the wide-ranging law, which also reduces red tape for starting new firms and makes it easier to introduce employee profit-sharing schemes.