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France raises €3.4bn with France Telecom sale

Still owns hefty stake

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The French government has sold some of its stake in France Telecom, raising €3.4bn to cut debt.

The sale was announced on Sunday and the shares went for €22.5 each, the lower end of the expected range.

The French government's share of France Telecom shrinks from 41 per cent to 35 per cent. It intends to remain a shareholder in the medium term.

Demand for the shares was muted due to concerns about the sector as a whole and that the sale was a political rather than economic response to events.

Prime minister Dominique de Villepin made cutting debt a priority when he was appointed last week. France needs to cut debt to get back within European Union limits. The new PM is expected to detail three further privatisations soon. ®

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