France faces eye-watering £9billion bill with desperate bid to repair aerospace industry

The plan would include a 1 billion euro investment fund, according to a report on Sunday’s French business newspaper Les Echos. The scheme seeks to help the industry bounce back from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It will feature a series of measures including loan guarantees and help for research and development, according to Les Echos.

A spokesman for France’s economy ministry declined to comment.

French transport minister said on Sunday that the country was looking to set up a 1 billion euro fund as part of the response to the crisis.

Sources familiar with the plans last week cited similar amounts.

They told Reuters that government and industry officials were discussing a privately created investment fund for small aerospace firms.

“For one of the funds, that is more or less the target,” the minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, told the news channel LCI when asked if 1 billion euros was a budget being considered.

He did not establish what the fund would be destined towards or how much additional funds might be worth.

The minister added that the strategy would be announced this week.

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Les Echos as well as other French news outlets said the proposal was set to be presented on Tuesday.

Mr Djebbari said the strategy would aim to prevent foreign powers taking over the aerospace companies.

He added that Chinese firms have shown interest and “are making offers at a time when they (French firms) are in difficulty”.

The car industry already counts with a multibillion-euro strategy while France pursues job guarantees, Mr Djebbari said.

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Defence Minister Florence Parly had talked to President Emmanuel Macron about the possibility of implementing specific military orders, he said.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced on May 31 that the government would set up an investment fund to give struggling suppliers a boost.

On Thursday, he revealed that France will secure some Airbus SE aircraft orders to prevent cancellations.

The subjects, who do not wish to be named before the proposal is completed, warned that there could be some changes before the plan is unveiled.

“In the case when an airline was about to order a plane, rather than it canceling the order to Airbus, the state will pay a guarantee for a year until planes start to fly again,” Mr Le Maire said Thursday on France 2 television.

Airbus declined to comment, but Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury has been advocating the idea of a scheme dubbed cash-for-clunkers for aircraft.

As well as the aircraft manufacturer, hundreds of French suppliers could access help from the fund after the pandemic forced their fleets to come to a halt.

Some of these firms are key in France’s strategic field because they also serve as defence suppliers.

European aerospace firms seeking state bailouts worth billions of euros include Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM.

Incentives to fund research into decreasing aviation emissions would comply with the European Commission’s so called green deal.

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