PARIS- France will extend by one year existing measures to control foreign parties' investments in key French companies, to protect companies deemed as strategically important for the country, said the French finance ministry.

The French finance ministry added that biotechnology companies were privy to this rule, which applies to foreign firms which build up a stake of 10% in key French companies.

In January, France took a tough line against any takeover of retailer Carrefour by a foreign company, dealing a major blow to a near $20 billion bid approach by Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard. 

The French government had also spoken out in 2005 to protect French big business amid rumors that Danone DANO.PA might receive a takeover bid from PepsiCo Inc.

The country has since tightened takeover rules to protect French companies deemed strategic, including under the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.

During the COVID pandemic, Macron has ramped up calls to protect French sovereignty in areas such as health care and industry.

(Reporting by Myriam Rivet; Editing by Matthieu Protard/Sudip Kar-Gupta) ((; +33 1 49 49 53 84;))