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French Earnings Deluge: Surprising Winners?

Almost half of France's biggest companies report quarterly earnings between Thursday morning and Friday evening, the first set of numbers since socialist President Francois Hollande took office in May in the midst of en economic crisis.

Hollande has announced plans to raise taxes on businesses to raise funds needed to help reduce the gap between spending and tax receipts, and his anti-business stancehas set alarm bells ringing, with many business leaders concerned his measures will make the country less competitive.

But in the face of austerityand economic gloom, some of the earnings released by 17 firms listed on the CAC40 index could surprise the market positively, Laurent Deydier, portfolio manager at Banque Jean-Philippe Hottinguer, told CNBC.com.

Aerospace giant EADS is expected to benefit from strong production gains driven by a full order book from emerging markets. Companies keen lower their energy and emission costs are also expected to have added to orders, Deydier said.

Another driver for EADS could be the dollar’s rise against the euro , he said, as the company had been suffering a lot over the past few years from a strong single currency.

The company “might positively revise its 2012 guidance,” Deydier said, and present “a reassuring message concerning the A350 program.” Despite running late, Deydier does not expect the delay to be more than one quarter.

Luxury and retail group PPR could also suprise investors. The company is expected to deliver more details on its luxury sector development plans. PPR’s Gucci is already one of the most profitable brands in the sector—third to Louis Vuitton and Hermes —and Deydier said PPR’s strategy to leave retail to head towards “100 percent luxuryis a good thing.”

Cement maker Lafarge could also be a positive, despite a downturn in construction in France.

“Lafarge could be a bit better than expected, thanks to an improvement in cost savings,” Deydier said, whereas contruction group “Saint Gobain may disappoint… the group’s guidance seems a bit optimistic to me,” he said.

“(Saint Gobain’s) guidance is likely to be vague and disappointing since 70 percent of its activity is from France,” Deydier said.

—By Guillaume Desjardins, Assistant Editor, CNBC.com