Eurotunnel chief 'seeks cash talks with Sarkozy'

15th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, April 15 (AFP) - Eurotunnel chairman Jacques Maillot has requested a meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, France's new finance minister, as the Channel tunnel operator tries to raise the pressure on the government to bail the company out, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

LONDON, April 15 (AFP) - Eurotunnel chairman Jacques Maillot has requested a meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, France's new finance minister, as the Channel tunnel operator tries to raise the pressure on the government to bail the company out, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

The ministry said late Wednesday that Sarkozy had not yet decided whether to meet the new management but was familiarising himself with the dossier, the newspaper said.

On Wednesday, reports also suggested that Eurotunnel's new management had asked to meet Transport Minister Gilles de Robien, but his ministry said they had received no such request.

Maillot and a new board were installed last week after shareholders ousted the previous management of the ailing Franco-British company, which has a debt pile of EUR 9 billion (USD 10.8 billion).

Maillot has said he plans to renegotiate the 1986 founding treaty of Eurotunnel, which forbids state bailout of the group.

However, the price of shares in the company has slumped since the removal of the previous board.

Both the French and British governments have recently ruled out any state aid.

There are roughly one million private French shareholders in Eurotunnel.

Its fate has political implications for the centre-right French government, whose political parties suffered a resounding defeat in March regional elections.

© AFP                                                   

                                                         Subject: French news

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