French Government Moves Forward On Plans To Sell State Gambling Asset

Francaise des Jeux and Aeroports de Paris reportedly up for sale

The future of French state-owned gambling group Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) and airport management company Aeroports de Paris (ADP) has been the subject of speculation since July this year, when the Finance Ministry announced plans to sell Euro 10 billion ($11.8 billion) worth of its stakes in state-owned companies in order to raise money for a new fund to finance innovation, an election pledge of President Emmanuel Macron.

Back then sources told French business and political reporters to expect privatisation developments in October 2017, although these would not include the defence, telecommunications, aerospace and nuclear industries (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Their assessment appears to have been accurate following media reports this week that the government has been quietly talking to law firms and banking groups with a view to exploring the possibilities and implications arising from the sale of FDJ and ADP.

The French government has a 72 percent stake in FDJ, which reportedly has 26 million punters on its books and turned over Euro 14.3 billion last financial year. It is respected as Europe’s second largest betting company, overshadowed only by Italy’s Lottomatica.

The state has a 50.63 stake in ADP, and there is likely to be considerable interest in acquiring such a valuable asset.

The privatisation of FDJ and ADP will likely entail the necessity for legislative changes, according to some observers.