French govt to 'fight' TotalEnergies New York listing

French govt to 'fight' TotalEnergies New York listing

TotalEnergies chief executive Patrick Pouyanne has floated the idea of moving the group's main listing from Paris to New York
TotalEnergies chief executive Patrick Pouyanne has floated the idea of moving the group's main listing from Paris to New York. Photo: Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP/File
Source: AFP

France will "fight" to keep oil and gas giant TotalEnergies from shifting its main stock market listing to New York, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Thursday.

"I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen," Le Maire told news channel BFM.

"Is the overriding interest of the nation to keep Total's headquarters in France and its main stock market listing in France? Yes, and so I will fight for that," he added.

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne told Bloomberg last week he was thinking about moving the listing across the Atlantic, as North American institutional investors come close to making up a majority of shareholders.

He said Europe's reticence at his strategy of continuing to invest in fossil fuels to finance a transition to lower-carbon forms of energy was one reason for the potential move.

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"We need Total. I've had the opportunity several times to say how much of an advantage it is for France to have a major oil company like Total" domiciled on its soil, Le Maire said Thursday.

He recalled that the group had set a ceiling of two euros ($2.14) per litre on petrol when energy prices soared in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"The best way" to meet TotalEnergies' financing needs would be to finally move forward with a long-discussed harmonisation of capital markets across the European Union, Le Maire added.

President Emmanuel Macron called for the same thing last week in a landmark European policy speech, saying it would be the best way to direct Europeans' massive savings pot into financing for the continent's green and digital transitions.

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TotalEnergies shares already trade in London and New York with secondary listings.

Its North American institutional shareholder base held 48 percent of the stock in 2023, compared with just 34 percent for Europe when counting out Britain -- inverting the proportions seen a decade ago.

Around 78 percent of the group's shares are held by institutional investors.

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Source: AFP

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