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LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) - French companies have spent more on overseas acquisitions so far this year than in the same period over the past decade, marking a sharp rebound from 2016 when political uncertainty limited their appetite for doing major deals, Thomson Reuters data shows.
Outbound merger and acquisition activity by French firms has reached $40.8 billion so far in 2017, up from less than $5 billion over the same period in 2016 when there were 243 deals, compared with 213 in 2017, the data released on Tuesday showed.
The activity was dominated by Essilor International’s all-share acquisition of Italian eyewear group Luxottica in January.
In the second biggest overseas deal by a French company so far this year, an investor group which included French waste and water group Suez bought GE Water for 3.2 billion euros ($3.48 billion).
On Sunday France elected Emmanuel Macron as president with a business-friendly vision of European integration which could stoke European cross-border transactions.
U.S. investment bank Citigroup leads the league table of advisers so far this year for deals involving outbound French M&A, advising on deals worth $30.8 billion, giving it a 75.4 percent share of the market. ($1 = 0.9184 euros) (Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; editing by Alexander Smith)