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17 Mar, 2020 10:44

France may nationalize major companies amid market meltdown, finance minister says

France may nationalize major companies amid market meltdown, finance minister says

The French government said on Tuesday it is ready to use all measures necessary to support big companies suffering during the current global market turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I won’t hesitate to use all means available to protect big French companies,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on a call with journalists, adding: “That can be done by recapitalisation, that can be done by taking a stake, I can even use the term nationalisation if necessary.”

According to the Financial Times citing Le Maire, Paris has also promised a package of measures worth €45 billion (US$49.8bn) to help companies and employees withstand the pandemic-linked storm. The package will include payments to temporarily redundant workers and postponed tax and social security bills.

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The aid measures also include €300 billion of state guarantees for bank loans to businesses and €1 trillion of such guarantees from European institutions, Le Maire said.

The Financial Markets Authority (AMF), along with regulators in Italy and Belgium, has banned short selling in some stocks for Tuesday’s session in order to curtail the plunge in equity markets. AMF has halted trades in 92 such stocks for 24 hours.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a stricter lockdown across the entire country, which has the seventh-highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases after China, Italy, Iran, Spain, South Korea, and Germany.

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