France will nationalise strategic firms if necessary to protect them from the effects of the coronavirus crisis, Economy Minister Bruno Le-Maire said on Thursday.
The ministry made the announcement at a news conference in Paris.
Le-Maire said he had sent President Emmanuel Macron a list of “strategic companies that could potentially be jeopardised in the market.
“We will be ready to resort to all means available to protect these companies by increasing the share participation of the French state, by recapitalising or as a last resort by nationalising,” Le-Maire said.
The centre-right minister said he was not calling for a state-administered economy.
“If nationalisations are needed, they will be temporary ones,” he said.
“But the state is responsible for protecting its industrial flagship companies.”
France went into a strict lockdown on March 17 to try and limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Experts have said the measures were likely to last until the end of April.
National statistic bureau INSEE last week said that economic activity was down 35 per cent as a result.
It estimated that every month of lockdown would cost the economy three per cent of annual gross domestic product. (dpa/NAN)