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France Sells Aeroports de Paris Stakes for 738 Million Euros

France decided to sell nearly 10 percent of Paris airport operator Aeroports de Paris to a Credit Agricole Assurances unit and Vinci SA as the government seeks to shore up its finances amid ballooning deficits.

The French government and the country’s sovereign investment fund FSI expect to raise 738 million euros ($960 million) by selling a 4.8 percent stake to Predica, the life insurance subsidiary of Credit Agricole Assurances, and 4.7 percent to construction company Vinci for 78.5 euros a share, according to a statement on the Finance Ministry’s web site. The sale would leave the French state as majority owner in ADP with 50.6 percent of the shares.

President Francois Hollande’s government may face a deficit equivalent to 4 percent of gross domestic product this year, rather than the 3.7 percent it’s aiming for, the national auditor said in a report last week. The risk of the wider-than-expected deficit stems from the possibility of receipts falling short, meaning any stake sales could help fill the gap.

France earlier this year sold a 3.1 percent stake in aircraft engine maker Safran SA for 449 million euros and cut its holding in Airbus parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. to 12 percent from 15 percent.

The agreement announced today calls for Predica and Vinci to keep the ADP shares purchased for at least a year and not to increase their stakes in the airport operator beyond 8 percent for at least five years.

ADP shares closed Friday up 0.95 percent at 74.71 euros per share.

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