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Just a few weeks ago the chief executive of French company Alstom suggested that the group had no alternative but to sell its energy section outright to American firm General Electric. But then the economy minister Arnaud Montebourg stepped into the fray and brokered a deal, agreed last weekend, that offers considerably better prospects for one of France's flagship companies. And in doing so, says Martine Orange, the minister has not only scored a personal political victory, he has also shown that the state is not always powerless to intervene on the industrial landscape.
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