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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Telecom Plans Share Sale

PARIS -- France will sell about 20 percent of state-owned telecommunications France Telecom next April, Telecommunications Minister Francois Fillon said in an interview published Tuesday.

The sale, in the second half of April 1997, will be aimed mainly at private individuals, he said in the interview with financial daily La Tribune Desfosses.

He also said he wanted to see a third competitor in the French telecommunications sector, alongside France Telecom and the recently formed Cegetel, a grouping of Generale des Eaux, British Telecom PLC, SBC Communications Inc. and Mannesmann AG.

Analysts estimate the sale would raise between 20 billion and 40 billion francs ($7.76 billion), with the money likely to be used to fund capital injections to other state-owned companies.

Under the Maastricht treaty on European monetary union, privatization revenues cannot be used to reduce deficits; France will use a special transfer from France Telecom to cover pension liabilities to cut its deficit next year.