Biotech protected from takeovers
Paris - The French government has unveiled plans to shield 10 strategic industry sectors, mostly linked to defense but including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, from foreign hostile takeovers. The legislation necessary to implement the takeover block will be announced by decree, the industry ministry said. Decisions whether or not to block a takeover or merger will be made on a case-by-case basis. The other sectors are casinos, security, communication interception equipment, computer security systems, dual civil-military technologies, cryptology equipment, and businesses dealing with sensitive military information.
Many of the sectors on the list are linked directly or indirectly to national security.Hence they are already eligible for protectionist measures, economists noted. The European Commission, which oversees competition policy in the enlarged EU, could well veto the move. “We will have to see whether the French measures are in-line with common legislation,” said spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber, adding that the Commission currently did not have sufficient informationto evaluate France's plans. The Treaty of Rome prevents individual member states from blocking the free circulation of goods, but for reasons of public security.