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France plans privatisation of Nice and Lyon airports

The French Ministry of Finance will begin consultation in September on the privatisation of Nice Côte d'Azur and Lyon airports, according to IJ Global.03 Aug 2015

The French government currently holds a 60% stake in the airports, but plans to sell off its interests by the middle of 2016, minister of the economy Emmanuel Macron told local press at a meeting this week, IJ Global said.

Jacques Kleynhoff, president of the supervisory board of Aéroports de la Cote d'Azur (ACA) said that first calls for offers will be made in mid-October, for prequalification in the middle of November. A second phase in December will lead to final selection of new owners in the first quarter of 2016, IJ Global reported. ACA manages Nice airport, Cannes Mandelieu airport and the Gulf of St. Tropez airport.

"Nice and Lyon airports, which are respectively number two and number three in France, and each valued at over €1 billion, are extremely attractive assets for investors," said infrastructure expert Stéphane Gasne of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, which has experience advising owners, investors and public authorities on airport privatisations throughout Europe. "There will no doubt be intense competition among investors when the first privatisation is launched, in September for Nice airport."

The French government sold a 49.99% stake in Toulouse-Blagnac airport in April to a consortium comprising Chinese state-owned group Shandong Hi-Speed Group and Hong Kong-based investment firm Friedmann Pacific Asset Management.