France's government has said that it will sell stakes in Electricite de France and Gaz de France, the state owned power and natural gas utilities that are valued by analysts at as much as a hundred billion euros.
The Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, in his opening address to parliament, did not say how many shares will be sold in each company or when the sales will take place. The French state will maintain a majority in both the companies, he said.
Selling the stakes may help ease criticism of France from neighbors who say the country is unfairly allowing its utilities to buy rivals abroad while retaining a lock on its home market. It would also enable the companies to raise funds to expand.
“They must be given the same weapons as their European competitors to fully benefit from the European energy market,” Raffarin told parliament. His government was named last month after national elections.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign