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June 30, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:19pm

SOCIALISTS RELENT; FRANCE TELECOM COULD LAUNCH PARTIAL FLOAT

By CBR Staff Writer

The long running debate over whether France Telecom will be privatized under the new socialist government looks set to end in a partial float, which could take place this autumn. French secretary of state for industry Christian Pierret suggested in an interview with French daily Liberation that at least part of the capital of France Telecom might be opened up. He said the government had three aims – to reinforce France Telecom’s strength as a big European telecoms operator, guarantee its independence and allow it to attain critical mass on a world scale. This implies at least a minimum opening to the world of (financial) markets, he said. The Socialist government had campaigned in the recent elections on an anti-privatization ticket. However, a recent survey poll found a majority of French people favored the public sale of shares in France Telecom. The poll found that 68% backed privatization of the firm, compared to 27% who opposed its sale.

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