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French President Francois Hollande’s authority has been hurt by poor results in recent European elections and his personal unpopularity.
French President Francois Hollande’s authority has been hurt by poor results in recent European elections and his personal unpopularity.
(CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS)

A fickle Hollande unsteadies French investing climate

The French government didn’t have to buy a 20-per-cent stake in Alstom. It could have smugly observed that its intervention in the acquisition of the French engineer’s energy assets by General Electric had yielded some success. Pressure from Paris forced GE to rework its offer, giving France a decisive say in the future of Alstom’s nuclear business. With that concession secured, there was no good reason to buy out Alstom’s main shareholder, construction-to-telecom conglomerate Bouygues.