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American firms turned off France by Hollande

France's attractiveness as a place to do business has plummeted in the eyes of US businesses active in the country after the change to a Socialist government, according to a survey released Thursday.

The survey among the heads of the French units of US companies found that only 22 percent saw France as an attractive place to do business, down from 56 percent in 2011.

Conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris and consulting firm Bain and Company, the survey questioned 52 leaders of French operations of US companies that had 39,000 employees and generated €32 billion ($42 billion) in sales last year.

Some 39 percent of the business leaders said they believed their headquarters in the United States had a negative perception of France, compared with 15 percent in 2011 and 9 percent in 2010.

While the drop in attractiveness was due to a range of factors, 65 percent of respondents said the election of a Socialist government had had a negative effect.

The survey was conducted in October, before the new government sent shivers through business circles by threatening to nationalise a steel factory toprevent ArcelorMittal shutting it down.

Some 85 percent of those polled had a negative opinion of the government's business tax policies, although 73 percent were in favour of a €20-billion initiative that would lower their tax charges to employ workers.

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ABB

Swedish engineering giant ABB to quit Russia over Ukraine

Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB said on Thursday it will quit Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine and the related international sanctions against Moscow.

Swedish engineering giant ABB to quit Russia over Ukraine

Russia accounts for only one or two percent of ABB’s overall annual turnover and the decision to pull out will have an estimated financial impact in the second quarter of around $57 million, the group calculated.

“ABB has decided to exit the Russian market due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and impact of related international sanctions,” the group said in a statement.

Russia accounts for only one or two percent of ABB’s overall annual sales and the decision to pull out will have an estimated financial impact in the second quarter of around $57 million, the group calculated.

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A large number of major western companies have pulled out of Russia since Moscow invaded its pro-Western neighbour on February 24.

“When the war broke out, ABB stopped taking new orders in Russia,” the group said.

At the same time, it said it continued to fulfill “a small number of existing contractual obligations with local customers, in compliance with applicable sanctions.”

Most of ABB’s dedicated Russian workforce has been on leave since March “and the company will do its best to support them as it realigns its operations in a controlled manner,” it said.

ABB has about 750 people in Russia and two production sites in the country located in the Moscow region and Lipetsk, as well as several service centres.

Separately, the group said that its net profit fell by 50 percent to $379 million in the second quarter, largely as a result of one-off charges, but also the cost of withdrawing from Russia.

Sales, on the other hand, grew by six percent to $7.2 billion in the period from April to June, ABB said.

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