March 4, 2018 / 2:48 PM / 3 months ago

French minister says no decision on airport operator sale

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government has yet to make a decision on whether to privatise Paris airport operator ADP (ADP.PA), which is a “strategic asset”, the transport minister said on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO - A plane used for training exercises by fire and rescue crews is seen with the logo of ADP (Groupe Aeroports de Paris) on the tarmac of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy, north of Paris, December 8, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE)

“The government has announced that it was considering selling some (state-owned) holdings to fund innovation. We are looking on a case by case basis and at this stage, no decision has been taken,” Elisabeth Borne told LCI television, when questioned about ADP.

“What is important is that ADP is a stategic asset as it connects France to the rest of the planet,” she said adding that legislation would be required to allow a sale.

ADP, in which the state has a 50.6 percent stake, has long been tipped as one of the prime candidates to kick off a wave of privatisations as the government seeks to raise funds for a new fund to finance innovation.

Asked if she was in favour of French companies as potential ADP buyers, she said: “There are very good investors in France, I do not see why they could not be shareholders,”

French construction group Vinci (SGEF.PA) already has an 8 percent stake in ADP and has expressed an interest in investing more if the state decides to sell all or part of its stake.

Borne also confirmed on Sunday that the government will not sell its remaining 10 per cent stake in Toulouse airport in southern France to a Chinese consortium, a deal that would have given it majority control of the fast-growing transport hub.

“The local authorities did not wish that this stake be sold. The state will not sell the 10 percent stake,” she said.

Casil Europe, a holding company composed of the state-owned Shandong Hi-Speed Group and the Hong Kong-based Friedmann Pacific Asset Management, bought 49.99 per cent of the airport, at Blagnac, outside Toulouse, in 2015. It had an option for an additional 10.01 per cent stake from April 2018.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Keith Weir

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