With a population of 65 million and GDP of $2.865 trillion in 2008, France is the fifth largest economy in the world, by measurement of GDP (nominal), behind the United States, Japan, China and Germany, is the second largest economy in Europe, and is a member of the G8 group of leading industrialised countries.
France has substantial agricultural resources, a large industrial base and a highly skilled work force. It is the world's second-largest agricultural producer (after the United States), the European Union's leading agricultural exporter and the second-largest trading nation in Western Europe (after Germany). With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, it is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. A dynamic services sector accounts for an increasingly large share of economic activity and is responsible for nearly all job creation in recent years.
Despite significant reform and privatization over the past 15 years, the government continues to control a large share of economic activity: Government spending, at 52.7% in 2008, is among the highest in the G-7. The government continues to own shares in corporations in a range of sectors, including banking, energy production and distribution, automobiles, transportation, and telecommunications. In 2008, in a move to advance France's competitiveness, the National Assembly passed four bills introduced by the French government to modernize the economy and improve the labour market.
We have been operating in the French real estate market since 2001, investing mainly in office buildings with a diverse geographical spread. From our Paris office, our operation is led by a team of strong local professionals with a proven track record, wide network of contacts and deep local knowledge. Our main focus is on value creating opportunities, where we can leverage our strong in-house expertise. Such opportunities include vacant properties as well as properties that require extensive refurbishments. Our French portfolio has been one of the markets where we have been the most active in recent years and a key driver to the group’s performance.
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