Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

French decree extends the number of sectors in which foreigners cannot invest without state authorisation

By Danhoé Reddy-Girard

On 14 May 2014, France issued a decree extending the number of sectors in which foreigners cannot invest without state authorisation.

When the French government initially became involved with the negotiations regarding GE’s potential acquisition of Alstom’s energy business, the French regulations on foreign investments did not mention energy in the 11 sectors that required a prior authorisation of the state for a foreigner to invest in.

Although Alstom was carrying out certain activities that might have fallen within the scope of the original regulations, such as the maintenance of the turbines of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the parties could have dealt with this from the outset or isolated the sale of such activities. That way, they would have avoided applying for an authorisation for energy activities that did not fall within the scope of the original regulations…

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