With the stock market rebounding, France is dusting off privatization plans at major state-owned companies. The government announced on Feb. 24 that it will publicly float a "substantial" part of its 97% holding in aerospace group Snecma before summer, while retaining a majority stake. Snecma's listing had been on hold since 2001 because of poor market conditions. The government also is expected to proceed soon with long-awaited share sales at Air France and France Télécom, ending its majority control of both companies. Nuclear power group Areva also is set for partial privatization. The government hopes the privatizations will help close a budget deficit that topped $72 billion, or 4% of gross domestic product, last year.

Edited by Rose Brady

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