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Nationalizing industry 'Renault-style'

The nationalization law covers the takover of five industrial groups, 39 banks, and two financial organizations. In addition, the takeover of two steel companies was achieved by an amendment to the 1981 national budget. France's top manufacturer of military aircraft, Dassault, and the armaments division of the Matra company have also been added to the public sector as a result of separate agreements.

The law provides for state takeover of the parent companies of the aforementioned industrial groups and financial institutions via a transfer of their stock from private to government hands. This differs significantly from some previous nationalizations, such as that of the mines, electric and gas utilities, and Renault, where the state took control of physical assets in addition to stock.

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The aggregate compensation paid for the companies which were traded at the Bourse will exceed substantially the aggregate market value of the shares immediately prior to the May 1981 elections as well as the aggregate average market values of such shares during the preceding six-and twelve-month periods.

The law draws no distinction between French and foreign shareholders. The Mitterrand administration believes that government involvement in the nationalized companies must be kept to a minimum, and provisions on management in the nationalization law clearly reflect this philosophy. The phrase ''Renault-style management'' has been used to describe their intention to leave the day-to-day affairs of the company to its executives, in much the same way that the auto manufacturer has been operated since its nationalization. Each company will define its own industrial strategy within the framework of a contract defining its long-term goals. These contracts, which will be negotiated between the nationalized company and the state, represent the government's desire to realize a cohesive industrial policy. More than 70 percent of sales in industry will continue to be realized by private companies.

The government has stated that the newly nationalized companies, like their predecessors in the public sector, will be given no special favors in the marketplace, either at home or abroad.

After its nationalization in 1954, Renault worked, without government assistance, to win its share of an automobile market that includes three other domestic manufacturers and countless foreign companies. Today, Renault controls 40.05 percent of the French car market and its exports have earned it the honor of being the top-selling group in the Common Market, with a 14.2 percent share.

Renault has invested $300 million in AMC since establishing its partnership with the American auto manufacturer in 1979, and now owns 55 percent of the company. This fall Renault will expand its stateside operation . . .

American investment in France also remains unaffected by the nationalizations. The Ford Motor Company recently announced that it would spend


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