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France To Invest Billions In SMEs

Represents a doubling of funding over next six years.

French President Jacques Chirac said Nov. 8 that three billion euros (US$3.83 billion) are to be invested in the country's most dynamic small and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs) over a six year period.

"The Caisse des Depots has committed itself to investing two billion euros over a six year period. That amounts to doubling its efforts on behalf of SMEs," Chirac said at a ceremony marking its 190th anniversary. The Caisse des Depots is a state-owned financial institution that performs public interest missions on behalf of French central and local authorities. The Caisse des Depots "will naturally be the pivot" of the fund, to be named "France Investissement (Investment)."

"On their side private partners will invest a billion euros over the same period, of which 400 million have already been acquired. So in all it will be three billion euros which will come over the next six years to strengthen the capital of the most dynamic French SMEs," Chirac said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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