October 9, 2018 / 4:22 PM / in 13 days

French lawmakers back privatisations, corporate law overhaul

PARIS (Reuters) - French lawmakers gave their backing in a first reading on Tuesday to an overhaul of corporate law aimed at cutting red tape for companies and setting several privatisations in motion.

French President Emmanuel Macron waits for a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The legislation is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business reform drive that has already eased labour laws and cut taxes on companies and entrepreneurs.

The law aims to make it faster and cheaper to register and wind down companies while also simplifying a complex system that imposes new regulations in multiple stages as firms increase their workforce.

It includes incentives to make profit-sharing more common among small firms and encourage employees’ voluntary contributions to all types of savings products.

The bill also sets the stage for several large privatisations already flagged by the government, with the proceeds due to finance a new 10 billion euros ($11.49 billion)innovation fund.

It will in particular lift legal restraints on selling down stakes in airport operator ADP (ADP.PA) and energy group Engie (ENGIE.PA) while allowing the national lottery FDJ to be privatised.

Some 361 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted in favour of the law while 84 were against and 103 abstained from voting.

The bill now goes before the Senate for consideration in January before returning to the lower house for a final vote. ($1 = 0.8706 euros)

Reporting by Myriam Rivet; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Ingrid Melander

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