France To Shield Business Sectors From Foreign Takeovers

The French government unveiled Aug. 31 plans to shield 10 strategic business sectors, mostly linked to defense but including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, from foreign hostile takeovers. The legislation necessary to implement the takeover block will be promulgated by decree, the industry ministry said. Decisions to block a takeover or merger will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The other sectors are armaments, casinos, security, communication interception equipment, computer security systems, dual civil-military technologies, cryptology equipment, and businesses dealing with sensitive military information. Notably absent from the list were the food and metallurgy sectors.Many of the sectors on the list are linked directly or indirectly to national security, and thus are already eligible for protectionist measures, economists noted.

The European Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 25-nation European Union and could well veto the move, said it would have to see if the move is in line with EU regulations. The EU's Treaty of Rome stops member states from blocking the free circulation of goods, expect mainly for reasons of public security.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

TAGS: Trade
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