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Recapitalization of Air France and Renault: “everything is possible, everything is ready” says Le Maire

Air France will benefit from “massive support” from the State in the face of the coronavirus crisis, assured Wednesday evening Bruno Le Maire, who had indicated a little earlier that France stood ready to replenish its capital as well than that of the Renault group.

“I will be very brief, everything is possible, everything is possible, everything is ready,” said Le Maire at the end of the Council of Ministers.

Questioned by AFP, neither Air France nor Renault made any comment.

Regarding Air France, the airline group “loses billions of euros per month (…) It is not a boost” that it will need, “it is massive support from State “, said Bruno Le Maire in the evening, interviewed by France 2.

“Air France will have this massive support from the state, we want to preserve this airline, which is a French industrial flagship, at all costs,” he said.

The Air France-KLM group will “need financial support quickly”, Air France director general Anne Rigail warned on Monday in an interview with Le Figaro.

The Franco-Dutch airline group announced in mid-March that it would reduce its offer from 70% to 90% because of the health crisis.

“The recovery will be slow, even very slow. It will take many months to recover. We will be permanently affected, with questions about the change in behavior of travelers,” warned Ms. Rigail.

In mid-March, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe declared that the state was ready to “assume its responsibilities as a shareholder”.

Bruno Le Maire, for his part, said that the French government would not take any decision on a possible nationalization “without close consultation with our Dutch partner”.

The French state notably controls 14.3% of the capital of Air France-KLM (against 14% for the Dutch state), and 15% of that of Renault.

The president of the latter, Jean-Dominique Senard, had assured for his part in March that a renationalization of the automobile group was “not on the agenda”, saying that “the day when the economy becomes more favorable, in the automotive industry it can be extremely fast and strong. “

Mr. Senard had then estimated that Renault could “request guarantees from the State”.

The government has since pledged to guarantee up to € 300 billion in business loans. For large companies with a turnover of more than 1.5 billion euros, these loans are 70% or 80% guaranteed by the State.

The Renault group has suspended most of its production in Europe, as well as in India and South America. Its sales in France collapsed in March by 71.6%.

boc-aro-sw-as / jmi / dlm

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