The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Breakingviews: French treasury looks to offload its telecom shares

The privatization of France Telecom is looming. A bill allowing the state to sell down its stake to a minority holding is expected to become law in February. And the cash-strapped government badly needs privatization receipts. The company's shareholders face being swamped with a deluge of new stock this year or, worse, a more complicated strategy.

The French government has several incentives for privatizing France Telecom. France is running a huge budget deficit. And even if privatization receipts don't count towards cutting deficits under EU accounting rules, they provide much-needed income.

Moreover, France Telecom looks to be finance minister Francis Mer's most dependable source of income. Selling 10% of the company would raise €5 billion at current market prices. Other government stakes are far less promising. Air France is small beer, for instance, and utility group EDF (Electricité de France) might not be ready for sale until 2005.

Privatizing France Telecom would also demonstrate that last year's bail-out of the group was a success. In April the state invested e9 billion in the company's rescue rights issue. Now it is sitting on a mark-to-market profit of €4.3

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree