© Reuters. France names banks to work on privatization of FDJ lottery firm

PARIS (Reuters) – France named on Tuesday a host of investment banks to work on its planned privatization of the state-run Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) lottery operator, which is aimed at raising money to fund innovation projects and boost the overall economy.

The French ‘APE’ (Agence des Participations de l’Etat) body said BNP Paribas (PA:), Citigroup (N:), Goldman Sachs (N:), SocGen (PA:), Credit Agricole (PA:), HSBC (L:), Natixis (PA:) and CIC would work on the FDJ deal.

The FDJ company, Europe’s second-biggest lottery after Italy’s Lottomatica, is 72 percent state-owned.

Last month, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said FDJ would be privatized by the end of the year, market conditions permitting. Asked how much the state could hope to raise from the sale of FDJ, he had just said “a few billion euros”.

The privatizations of companies such as airports group ADP (PA:) and FDJ are integral to President Emmanuel Macron’s drive to curb government involvement where he believes the private sector would better deliver investment and change.

The government plans to sell all or part of its 50.6 percent stake in ADP, currently worth around 8.4 billion euros ($9.50 billion).

However, those plans have been complicated by a group of opponents who have demanded a referendum on the ADP privatization, and have accused the government of “flogging the family silver”.

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