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Air France-KLM: the Dutch government will purchase 14% of shares

"Surprise" move announced yesterday by the finance minister

In order to balance the influence that the French government has on Air France-KLM, the Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra explained yesterday that Amsterdam will also buy the shares of the Air Group so as to balance the presence of Paris. A move that would have taken France off guard, especially Bruno Le Maire who told at the press that he had not been informed of this Dutch decision to try to buy the 14% of the capital of Air France-KLM. In reality the announcement is not so surprising because it comes at the end of a clash between the Netherlands and France concerning the reconfirmation of Pieter Elbers at the top of KLM, badly seen by the Group's CEO Benjamin Smith intending to increase the central power over the two companies air; but this strategy for Amsterdam hid the French will to increase the capabilities of Air France, which is significantly less financially than the Dutch ally.

Hoekstra -speaking to journalists in The Hague- underlined how it was a decision that will protect the interests of the Netherlands, especially as it will ensure that it has a "seat at the table" of the shareholders of Air France-KLM. Probably the Dutch choice will also change the strategy of France, which since the inauguration of Emmanuel Macron has expressed the desire to sell its participation so as to avoid any national interference in the management of airlines.

M/A - 1219258

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