French companies benefiting from state aid can't buy back shares

FILE PHOTO: French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Paris, France March 25, 2020. Francois Mori/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) – French companies benefiting from financial support from the government to help them through the coronavirus crisis must not buy back their shares, France’s finance minister said on Monday.

Bruno Le Maire had said on Friday that such companies would not be allowed to pay a dividend to shareholders, in order to ensure that their cash stayed invested in the business.

“We won’t tolerate that companies carry out share buybacks or pay dividends to their shareholders … Buybacks will not be compatible with benefiting from state support,” Le Maire said on BFM TV.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Catherine Evans

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