French judges ordered former Prime Minister François Fillon to stand trial on charges of misusing public funds, in a case that torpedoed his 2017 bid for the presidency and cleared the way for the election of Emmanuel Macron. France’s financial crimes court charged Mr. Fillon with misappropriating public funds by employing his wife and two of his children as aides while he served in parliament, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday. They also charged Mr.
The eurozone’s manufacturing sector remains stuck in a rut as its two largest economies missed expectations and continued to contract in April, according to a closely watched survey of industry executives, the Financial Times reported. The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing in Germany rose slightly to 44.5 from 44.1 previously, but this was below expectations in a Reuters poll of an increase to 45. The index for the French manufacturing sector fell to 49.6 from 49.7, despite anticipation of a rise to 50.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has challenged the wealthier economies of northern Europe to increase budget spending to revive eurozone growth and cut the risks of another financial crisis, an ambitious proposal likely to raise hackles in Berlin and The Hague, the Financial Times reported. “There are many countries in the eurozone that have the means to invest more,” Mr Le Maire told the Financial Times in an interview in Paris.
France’s services sector fell back into contraction in March, according to a closely watched economic survey, as a series of anti-government protests continued to disrupt the economy, the Financial Times reported. The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index, which gathers data by polling corporate executives, fell to 49.1 in March, down from 50.2 in February and below the 50 mark which separates expansion from contraction. The reading slightly bettered a Reuters poll of economists, which had forecast a figure of 48.7.
France is preparing to impose a 3 per cent digital tax on internet giants with global turnover of more than €750 million and turnover of more than €25 million in France, the Irish Times reported. The French finance minister Bruno Le Maire presented his draft law on the tax to cabinet on Wednesday and the text will go to the National Assembly in early April. It will take effect retroactively from January 1st this year. The tax will apply to the French revenues of some 30 international groups and is expected to raise €500 million annually.
The Dutch government has taken a shareholding in Air France-KLM in an attempt to protect the country’s economic interests in the carrier, escalating tensions between Paris and The Hague, the Financial Times reported. Wopke Hoekstra, Netherlands’ finance minister, announced that his government had acquired a 12.68 per cent stake in the Air France-KLM holding group in recent weeks and will aim to build a shareholding equal to the French state at 14.3 per cent.
Societe Generale SA is drawing up plans to cut jobs at its investment bank and find a partner for its cash-equity business in a bid to offset increasing cost pressure from regulation, people familiar with the matter said. The bank could cut hundreds or even thousands of jobs at its global banking and investor solutions unit, including roles in support functions such as finance and human resources, one person familiar with the situation said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential, Bloomberg News reported.
The French government is considering buying out minority shareholders of Electricite de France SA, the first step in a corporate restructuring to address the challenge of replacing the country’s nuclear-power backbone, people familiar with the matter said, Bloomberg News reported. The government has asked EDF, of which it owns 84 percent, to propose changes in its structure. The utility’s cash flows are vulnerable to volatile power prices and intensifying competition, and it’s already struggling to fund billions of euros of investments to maintain or replace its aging reactors.
France’s private sector slipped further into contraction in January despite a tentative recovery in its manufacturing sector, a closely watched survey showed on Thursday, the Financial Times reported. Disruption to business caused by a series of protests and blockages which swept the country at the end of the year resulted in the first contraction in the private sector for two-and-a-half years in December 2018. The latest purchasing managers’ survey from IHS Markit showed that turbulence had rippled into 2019.
French manufacturing output fell in November, a further indicator that trade uncertainty and political tension in Europe could be cooling the eurozone, the Financial Times reported. The 1.3 per cent month on month slide in industrial output was worse than the forecast in a Reuters survey of no change, following two months of growth. Manufacturing was also down 1.4 per cent in November, a 1.2 per cent decrease from November last year, the French National Institute for Economic Studies reported on Thursday. Manufacturing output remained down 1.0 per cent over the quarter.