Sunday, April 11, 2004

The State

The Independent has a good round-up of recent French state entanglement in the private sector. One of the items that struck me as particularly unusual was a French court's award in January to LVMH of €100m after a Morgan Stanley analyst wrote a critical report about the French luxury goods company. As a result, Morgan Stanley has cut back on its coverage of luxury good companies. Forbes has more details.

Also, The Times provides further information on the EuroTunnel shareholder revolt, in which approximately 26,000 French investors voted to oust the entire EuroTunnel board. The Times opines that this shareholder action may threaten the incestuous nature of the French business world.

The Telegraph reports on the sad financial state of the French-British project, noting that in 2002, "Eurotunnel's total turnover from running the shuttle and from the railway service was £541m, while the interest on its borrowings was a whopping £319m. So just to break even, it would have had to meet all of its operating costs out of £222m. But, in fact, its operating expenditure last year was almost twice that. Staff costs alone were £105m."

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