France signals privatisation policy, without Areva

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced on Thursday that there were no plans to part privatise nuclear energy group Areva by 2007, an election year.

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced on Thursday that there were no plans to part privatise nuclear energy group Areva by 2007, an election year.

But he said that the privatisation of airport operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP) would go ahead. However, he played down talk that the SNCF rail business and the post office might be opened to private capital.

"In a sector as strategic as the provision of fission materials, the enrichment and treatment of nuclear waste, state control must provide the necessary guarantees to our citizens as well as to our foreign clients," Villepin said at this monthly press conference in Paris.

"We understand that under these conditions, regarding Areva, the opening up to private capital is not one of the projects of my government," he said.

France is set for a presidential election in 2007 which is likely to result in a new government.

Concerning ADP, the prime minister said: "In a more and more competitive environment, Aeroports de Paris must modernise its infrastructure and create the most modern and secure airline terminals. It is for these reasons that I will give at the right moment my agreement to opening this company to private capital."

At the same time, Villepin also knocked down talk of privatising the SNCF and the post office, saying both "were not the order of the day".

The French government has been concentrating its part privatisation plans on the utilities Gaz de France (GDF) and Electricite de France (EDF).

The government was set to announce later on Thursday the price range for the part privatisation of electricity giant EDF which is expected to raise one billion euros (1.2 billion dollars) for the state and seven billion euros for the group.

The offering, which is highly controversial because of a long tradition of state-owned public services in France, comes four months after flotation of the national gas utility GDF which attracted 3.0 million small French shareholders.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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