France plans an investment fund for aerospace firms amid Covid-19

The country's finance minister said the fund will help small and medium-sized companies

FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire delivers a speech during a high-level forum on debt at the Finance ministry in Paris, France, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

France will announce a stimulus plan for the French aerospace industry in the next week to 10 days as the country’s economy deals with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview on broadcaster France 3 on Sunday.

Measures will include the creation of an investment fund to help small and medium-sized companies in the sector, with Mr Le Maire saying he wants France’s four large aerospace companies, Thales, Safran, Airbus and Dassault Aviation, “to be present” in the fund.

France’s aerospace plan would follow an €8 billion ($8.9bn) stimulus package for the country’s struggling car industry announced on Tuesday, which includes €5bn in state-backed loans for Renault. The aerospace industry is France’s biggest exporter, with foreign sales valued at €64.2bn in 2019, according to customs statistics.

Mr Le Maire said Renault’s survival is in play. He said the carmaker needs to become more competitive and have a long-term strategy that includes electric vehicles.

Aid for the tourism, hotel and restaurant industry will be maintained until at least the end of June, according to Mr Le Maire. He said France could still have “a magnificent French tourism season".