French Government Moves To Divest From Major Gambling Group

Initial legislation to reduce stake in Francaise des Jeux introduced earlier this week

The French government has made initial moves beginning the process of reducing its interest in major gambling group Francaise des Jeux from the current 72 percent to around 22 percent, introducing enabling legislation earlier this week.

Following last year’s elections the new government announced its plans to sell off some of its stake in the gambling group, along with those of national airport operator Aeroports de Paris SA (ADP) and energy provider Engie SA.

The proceeds, expected to top Euro 15 billion, will be dedicated to setting up and financing a government fund for innovation and industrial investment, a key pledge in president Emanuel Macron’s election campaign.

French government officials say that the legislation will likely only be reviewed and voted on later this year, at the earliest after the summer recess, and that an IPO will probably not take place before 2019.

Francaise des Jeux posted sales of over Euro 15 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 5.7 percent from operations that include online and retail lottery, scratch cards, and sports betting.