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Orange CEO wants French state to remain as a controlling shareholder

Orange chief executive Stephane Richard speaks to reporters inside the courthouse in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - The French state should remain a controlling shareholder of telecoms operator Orange <ORAN.PA>, said company chief executive Stephane Richard on Wednesday.

The French state owns a controlling 23 percent stake in the telecom operator and remains a king-maker at the former monopoly.

"I don't want to see the state withdraw," Richard told reporters during a call on the group's new five-year strategic plan.

"It's an element of stability and of strategic support for the company," he added.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)