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7 February 2022
Thematic Public Report
Publicly funded companies have not been spared by the health crisis, which has notably
affected companies in the transport, automotive, aerospace, energy and tourism sectors,
which represent a significant part of the State shareholder’s portfolio.
A survey published
today by the Court of Accounts focusses on public holdings in companies operating in the
competitive sector, managed by three major public shareholders
Agence des
participations de l’État
(APE), the
Caisse des dépôts et consignations
(CDC) and holdings
managed by Bpifrance
responsible, between them, for managing a portfolio valued on
31 December 2019 at approximately 145 billion euros in state financial statements. This
report examines how these public shareholders have suffered from the health crisis, the
measures they have taken to support companies with public holdings and the financial cost
of the crisis
both for the companies concerned and for the State.
Public shareholders rallied quickly, with powerful means of action
In the unique context of the health crisis, the bodies in charge of managing State holdings
rallied very quickly indeed. They presented and implemented measures to ensure the short-
term continuity of companies with public holdings. These measures
essentially taken on
APE’s initiative, in close collaboration with the General Directorate of the Treasury (DGT) and
the General Directorate for Business (DGE)
were decisive, for example, in ensuring the
continuity of Air France-KLM and Renault. Their link with the health crisis appears indisputable
for most of them with, nevertheless, a question mark over the case of SNCF, where funding
granted under emergency plans was in fact immediately returned to the State and will only be
made available to the company gradually over the coming years.
High costs for the State shareholder in 2020 and a financial impact that is hard to estimate
From a budgetary point of view, the impact of the crisis in relation to the role of the State
shareholder can be valued at between 15.5 and 20 billion euros in 2020. The Court estimates
the loss in value suffered by the State’s assets in 2020 at around 11
billion euros. This was a
difficult figure to arrive at as the State does not have a consolidated overview of its financial
assets. The Court therefore recommends looking into an accounting consolidation process for
the State’s financial holdings.
Financial consequences to anticipate beyond 2020: a necessary update of the State
shareholder doctrine
Beyond the consequences of the crisis, apparent in the 2020 accounts of companies with
public holdings, the State,
Caisse des dépôts
and Bpifrance, the appearance of certain risks
cannot be ruled out over the coming years. The main area of uncertainty concerns the State
as a direct investor. The crisis has in fact led to an increase in the State’s commitment to capital
in certain companies that were already weakened before the crisis and whose difficulties have
only been increased by it. The equity financing needs of these holdings should weigh on the
State budget in years to come, while the opportunities for intervention could increase, in
particular, to support the ecological transition. For the Court, it is therefore necessary to
update the State shareholder doctrine by clarifying the scope of public equity interventions,
by specifying their financing (if they were to increase), and by better articulating the roles of
APE, CDC and Bpifrance.
Read the report
Emmanuel Kessler
Director of Communications
01 42 98 97 43
Julie Poissier
Head of Press Relations
01 42 98 97 43
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