France, Qatar to co-invest in small French businesses
France's state-owned Caisse des Depots bank and the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign fund on Friday announced the signing of an agreement to co-invest in small and medium French businesses.
The Caisse des Deopts and Qatar Holding LLC will set up a 300-million-euro ($380-million-) fund to invest "in sectors with high growth potential and where both Qatar Holding LLC and Caisse des Depots have common interests," a joint statement said.
France has proved attractive to Qatari investors who have bought Paris Saint-Germain football club and acquired three percent of energy giant Total as well as stakes in building firm Vinci and in media group Lagardere.
But the gas-rich Gulf state had postponed launching a fund for entrepreneurs from France's deprived suburbs until after the presidential election in May to prevent it becoming a political football. The project has now been revived.
Losing far-right candidate Marine Le Pen had attacked Qatar for investing in what she said were mainly Moslem areas of French cities and said unnamed foreign countries wanted to develop Islamic fundamentalism in France.
In a separate statement on Friday, Qatar's ambassador to France Mohamed Jaham Al Kuwari said it would be the businesses and not the area where they were located which would determine if they got access to the funds.
© 2012 AFP