France sees innovation fund yielding 200 million euro for investments

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government expects an innovation fund it is setting up to generate 200 million euros ($239 million) a year to finance investments, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

The government started a drive this month to sell off corporate stakes not considered as strategic in order to redeploy scarce cash from mature industries to the new 10 billion euro ($12 billion) fund.

“I want this fund to be set up as quickly as possible. I want it to yield 200 million euros per year in revenues to exclusively finance breakthrough innovations,” Le Maire told a aerospace event hosted by the bpifrance public investment bank.

He added that the fund would focus on investments in the transport and health industries as well as renewable energies and the storage of such energies.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister, kicked off its asset sale program this month by shedding a 4.5 percent stake in gas utility Engie.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Editing by Sarah White

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