(Adds details about privatisations)
PARIS, Jan 15 (Reuters) - French economic growth will probably exceed the government's forecast for this year, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday, and he set up a new innovation fund to boost future growth.
The French economy has been gaining momentum since President Emmanuel Macron was elected last May with business and consumer confidence hitting multi-year highs while job creation picks up.
"Growth is solid. It probably reached 2 percent in 2017 for the first time since 2011. In 2018, we will probably do better than our forecast of 1.7 percent," Le Maire said in a New Year's speech to representatives of different economic sectors.
Le Maire said he had signed documents on Monday officially setting up a new 10 billion euro ($12.3 billion) fund aimed at boosting future growth by financing innovation.
He said it would initially be composed of 1.6 billion euros in proceeds from the sale last year of Engie and Renault shares and would include 8.4 billion euros in EDF and Thales shares, which remain government property.
The fund, which is to be housed within the Bpifrance public investment bank, is expected to generate revenues of 200-300 million euros to be used to finance breakthrough technologies, the finance ministry said in a statement. The 10 billion euros in capital will itself not be invested in innovation projects.
Le Maire said that eventually the fund would be made up entirely from the proceeds of state asset sales, though a new law was needed to be able privatise some companies.
A ministry source said the change was required for Paris airport operator ADP, state gaming monopoly la Francaise des Jeux and utility Engie. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Myriam Rivet and Yann Le Guernigou, addiotnal reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Richard Balmforth)