Privatisation of motorways due by end of 2005

10th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 9 (AFP) - The French government has set the end of 2005 as the deadline for the completion of its controversial privatisations of the country's motorway companies, transport minister Dominique Perben said Sunday.

PARIS, Oct 9 (AFP) - The French government has set the end of 2005 as the deadline for the completion of its controversial privatisations of the country's motorway companies, transport minister Dominique Perben said Sunday.

The minister, speaking on national television, said the second round of tenders was launched on Friday and the candidates must make binding offers by November 7.

"The objective is to complete the operation before the end of 2005," Perben said.

The French government has received 18 offers for majority stakes in three of the country's motorway companies -- evidence that the 11-bn-euro price tag for the three holding companies is too low, according to opponents of the plan.

The French finance ministry said in August it was pleased by the "high" number of bids for a 50.3 percent stake in Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF), a 70 percent stake in Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône (APRR) and a 75 percent stake in the Societé des Autoroutes du Nord et de l'Est de la France (Sanef).

Opposition to the privatisation process has been led by the leader of the opposition UDF party, François Bayrou, whose party has accused the government of "flogging off the family silver".

Parliament will debate the privatisation of the motorway companies on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Asked about possible foreign ownership Perben said Sunday that future "European capital" in the French motorway companies "does not pose a major problem".

Companies that have declared their bids included Italian motorway operator Autostrade, French construction companies Vinci and Eiffage, and a number of Spanish companies.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article