January 7, 2018 / 12:29 AM / a year ago

France plans privatization law in asset sale push: PM

FILE PHOTO: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year and a government seminar in Paris, France, January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government is planning a privatization bill as part of its program of asset sales, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in an interview, confirming that the state could cede control of some companies.

The government outlined last year plans to sell stakes in order to finance a 10 billion euro ($12.0 billion) innovation fund.

It has since reduced its minority stakes in energy group Engie (ENGIE.PA) and car maker Renault (RENA.PA), and there has been speculation that Paris airport operator ADP (ADP.PA) and national lottery firm Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) are in line to be privatized.

“There have already been some (asset sales) and there will be more,” Philippe said in an interview with Sunday paper JDD.

Asked if the government would present a privatization bill, a necessary step for ceding state control, he said: “Yes. The question is not taboo.”

He declined to indicate the timetable for asset sales and did not mention any companies.

Last month, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government would detail its asset sale program in early 2018, while the head of APE, which manages the state’s corporate holdings, said the government had yet to make any decision over whether to privatize ADP.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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