Helene Fouquet
March 4, 2010

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to expand government control over state-owned companies, naming board members to represent its interests and increasing financing to manufacturers in a bid to stem industrial decline.

“The state must completely overhaul its shareholder’s role in the big industrial companies,” Sarkozy said today in southern France, according to a copy of a speech e-mailed by his office. “The state will now be represented by at least two administrators in each company it has shares in,” he said, calling for an “industrial strategy.”

The state is the majority shareholder in Aeroports de Paris SA, Electricite de France SA and Areva SA. It’s the investor in France Telecom SA, Air France-KLM, Thales SA, GDF Suez SA, Renault SA, and shipmaker STX France.

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