The law Covenant opens the way for sales of State assets


© Reuters. THE LAW COVENANT OPENS THE WAY FOR sales OF STATE ASSETS

PARIS (Reuters) – The legal developments allowing for the possible disposals of the interests of the State in ADP, Engie (PA:ENGIE) and the Française des Jeux, will be included in the project of the law “Covenant”, which will be presented next Monday in the council of ministers, announced on Monday that Bruno Le Maire.

“We will give them in the law Covenant the possibility of the sale of interests that the State holds in three companies : the ADP group (ex-Airports of Paris), the French Games and Engie,” writes the minister of Economy and Finance on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).

The “action Plan for growth and business transformation” will include a component allowing the State to pass under the threshold of 50% in ADP, to fall below one-third of the voting rights at Engie and privatize the JDF, according to sources at the ministry in paris.

The text “up to the limits that are listed today for these three companies,” but the scale and terms of the divestitures will not be determined until after the adoption of the text by the Parliament, which was not expected before 2019, according to these same sources.

In regards to Engie, in which the State holds 24.1% of share capital and 33% of the voting rights, the government will retain a specific action (“golden share”), which will give him the right to oppose to disposals of assets deemed strategic, such as infrastructure to transport gas or storage.

The draft law “Pact” will provide for a change of status for ADP – including the State owns 50.6 per cent of the capital in order to limit to 70 years, the detention and the exploitation of its assets, says one at Bercy.

COMPENSATION TO BE SET FOR ADP

The company ADP, which had so far of an operating license for unlimited, this will result in a “fair and prior compensation”, says the same source.

For its part, the State shall have a right of veto on the disposal of assets of the manager of airports of Orly and Roissy-CDG. It will also negotiate with ADP a contract for the economic regulation laying down every five years, the amount of investment, the level and the evolution of airport charges, under the control of an independent authority.

Bruno Le Maire, had already warned in April that, above and beyond the control of the tariffs, the key public functions – customs, border control, security, police and air traffic would remain also in the hands of the State.

For la Française des Jeux, the State could, according to sources at Bercy, maintain “a certain level” of participation, to comply with the european regulations that imposes a tight control on companies using games of monopoly.

A strengthening of the regulation of this part of the activity of the FDJ – currently provided by the management of the Budget – is planned, either by the creation of an independent authority, or by expanding the games in the monopoly powers of an authority already existing, says one at Bercy.

The funds from these transactions – which include an “important dimension” of securities for employees and individual shareholders – “will be used to supply a fund for innovation (…) and will also contribute to the debt reduction”.

Launched in the beginning of the year, the Fund for innovation has ten billion euros. The dividends generated by the assets that comprise it – between 200 and 300 million euros per year – will be especially dedicated to financing disruptive innovation.

(Yann Le Guernigou, Myriam Rivet and Leigh Thomas, edited by Yves Clarisse and Emmanuel Jarry)

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