October 3, 2019 / 8:41 AM / 14 days ago

Privatization of French lottery group FDJ due in 'coming weeks': Le Maire

FILE PHOTO: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a news conference on 2020 budget at the ministry in Paris, France, September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The privatization of France’s national lottery company Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) should be launched in the “coming weeks”, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday.

“I will sell off Francaise des Jeux in the coming weeks,” he told reporters.

The French state, which currently controls 72% of FDJ, has said it plans to retain at least 20% of Europe’s second-biggest lottery operator following the sell-off.

The privatizations of companies such as airports group ADP (ADP.PA) and FDJ are integral to President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise money to fund innovation projects and boost the overall economy.

Le Maire added France would invest 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in artificial intelligence over the coming years.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Writing Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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