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Sarkozy to boost small business

PARIS, Oct 5 – French President Nicolas Sarkozy was set to announce on Monday two billion euros (2.9 billion dollars) in aid to support small and medium-sized businesses, the daily Les Echos reported.

Half of the aid is to come from the country\’s Strategic Investment Fund, which would invest in companies in exchange for bonds convertible into shares, the paper said.

The other billion euros in support will be in equity loans from Oseo, the state bank set up to support small and medium-sized businesses.

The loans and investments should help small and medium-sized businesses who are short of capital "get through the difficult months," Jean-Francois Roubaud of the Confederation General of Small and Medium-sized Businesses was quoted as saying.

Sarkozy was due to formally announce the initiative before a gathering of 2,000 owners of small and medium-sized businesses on Monday.

In its 2010 budget presented last week the French government indicated it intends to continue stimulus spending as the country battles to shake off the effects of the global crisis.

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