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France plans spring sell-off with raft of privatisations

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France plans spring sell-off with raft of privatisations
AFP
11:34 CET+01:00
French President Emmanuel Macron is planning a spring clear out with a raft of privatizations - said to be the biggest in a decade - that the state hopes will raise €10 billion.

President Emmanuel Macron is planning to sell off state assets in various companies in a bid to raise €10 billion, according to Les Echos newspaper.

The spring sell-off could see the state sell part or all of its stakes in the capital's airports Orly and Charles-de-Gaulle as well as energy group Engie and the national lottery (Française des Jeux - FDJ).

The aim of the controversial privatizations is to raise €10 billion in funds for innovation, which was part of Macron's election campaign promise to make France the "digital champion of Europe".

Earlier this year the government raised €2.8 billion by selling stakes in French car giant Renault and Engie, but will step up the fundraising in spring.

Aeroports de Paris (ADP) the group which runs the French capital's three airports - Orly, CDG and Le Bourget could provide the biggest earner for the state.

It could earn up to €7.5 billion if it sold its 50.6 percent stake in a company worth €15 billion. Although the government is likely to want to hold on to part of the group, which has seen its value triple since 2012.

The lottery company Française des Jeux (FDJ) is believed to be worth up to €3.5 billion, with the state owning a 72 percent stake. Again the government is likely to want to keep a 30 percent stake, according to Les Echos newspaper.

With the government not wanting to sell part of its stake to a gaming specialist one option could be for FDJ to be floated on the stock market, which could bring in €1.5 billion for state coffers.

Energy group Engie is the third candidate expected to be partly or wholly privatized.

The state is still the main shareholder with a 24.1 percent stake in a company whose estimated worth is €36 billion.

The sell offs planned for spring will have to get the green light from parliament, but with a big majority that should prove no problem from Macron's government.

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