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BERLIN France and Germany held talks with representatives of EADS and Daimler in Paris over the weekend with the aim of settling a new shareholder structure for Europe’s largest aerospace group, according to a German media report. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said in an advance copy of a report due to appear in its Monday edition that talks focused on capping state shareholdings in EADS at 30 percent, giving France and Germany 12 percent each, Spain 4 percent, and leaving a 2 percent buffer that states could still possibly acquire later. The paper added talks were also looking at what level […]

PARIS The French government backed away on Friday from a threat to nationalize a steelworks, saying it secured promises from the owner, ArcelorMittal , to invest and avoid any forced layoffs at the site where the company has idled two blast furnaces. Workers at the plant said the announcement fell well short of what they had hoped from a government that won power in May on promises to combat industrial decline and mass job losses in Europe’s second-largest economy. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said ArcelorMittal, under fire for mothballing the site 18 months ago, would invest 180 million euros ($ […]

PARIS The French government struck a deal with ArcelorMittal on Friday which will see the steelmaker invest 180 million euros ($ 234 million) in its Florange steelworks, allowing some 600 jobs at two shuttered blast furnaces to be saved. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the two furnaces would not be restarted for now, given weak European steel demand, but ArcelorMittal would keep them in working order for future use in a test project for environmentally friendly steel production. The deal saves face for Socialist President Francois Hollande, allowing him to fulfill an election pledge to fight industrial layoffs while avoiding […]

PARIS/LILLE Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen were both hit by strikes on Thursday as both French car makers eye moves to cut costs and boost productivity amid slumping sales. A single production line at Peugeot’s Aulnay plant on the outskirts of Paris, slated to be closed in 2014 at the cost of 3,000 jobs, ground to a halt after five workers were summoned for lack of productivity, a representative of the CGT union said in a phone interview. “The strike was extended to the evening team and a third negotiating meeting has been planned, but production has been halted,” CGT […]

MADRID European stock markets opened mildly lower on Tuesday, driven by losses for banks after Moody’s Investors Service stripped France of its triple-A debt rating, lowering it by one notch. Investors will be keeping an eye on the European Union finance ministers meeting along with a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.3% to 267.91, led by a more than 1% drop for HSBC Holdings PLC . The French CAC 40 index fell 0.4% to 3,426.58, the German DAX 30 index lost 0.2% to 7,110.89 and the FTSE 100 index fell 0.4% […]

French Foreign Minister Pierre Moscovici pictured in Paris on May 17.Finance minister rejects concern that France could become the next focus of the eurozone crisis”France is not the sick man of Europe. France remains the world’s fifth largest economic power”(Financial Times) — France’s socialist government seized on better than expected economic growth figures to reject concern that France could become the next focus of the eurozone crisis, insisting it is acting to reform the flagging economy.”France is not the sick man of Europe. France remains the world’s fifth largest economic power that has all its resources but which needs to […]

BERLIN/PARIS Germany and France each grew by 0.2 percent in the third quarter but with the euro zone’s debt-laden members suffering deeply, the currency bloc as a whole is likely to have slid into recession. The quarterly performance of Europe’s dominant economy reported on Thursday was in line with forecasts and analysts said it could not defy gravity for much longer. The French economy surprised on the upside, having been expected to post no growth at all after a revised 0.1 percent fall in the second quarter. “That was the last good number from Germany for the time being. The […]

BERLIN/PARIS Germany and France each grew by 0.2 percent in the third quarter but with the euro zone’s debt-laden members suffering deeply, the currency bloc as a whole is likely to have slid into recession. The quarterly performance of Europe’s dominant economy reported on Thursday was in line with forecasts and analysts said it could not defy gravity for much longer. The French economy surprised on the upside, having been expected to post no growth at all after a revised 0.1 percent fall in the second quarter. “That was the last good number from Germany for the time being. The […]

Internet retailer Amazon said it had received a $ 252 million demand from the French tax authorities for back taxes, interest and penalties in relation to “the allocation of income between foreign jurisdictions”. The claim comes as European countries step up efforts to clamp down on U.S. companies which minimize their tax bills in the continent by channeling profits through low-tax regimes. Amazon said it would fight the tax claim, in court if necessary, and that the demand related to the calendar years 2006 through 2010. “We disagree with the proposed assessment and intend to vigorously contest it,” the company […]

PARIS France could co-invest alongside Libya’s sovereign wealth fund if the wealth fund takes over insolvent Swiss refiner Petroplus’ plant in Normandy, industry minister Arnaud Montebourg says. Montebourg, keen to secure a rescue of the Petit Couronne plant, the oldest refinery in France, heads to Libya with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius on Monday. In an interview in Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Montebourg highlighted the fact that Libya’s sovereign wealth fund had expressed interest in the refinery in Normandy, northwest France, which was put under legal protection after its Swiss-based owner Petroplus filed for insolvency last year. “Our […]

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