Spain brings forward state lottery listing - reports

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The Spanish government has decided to bring forward the stock market listing of a 30-percent stake in the country's state lottery company by a month to October, Spanish media reported Tuesday.

The listing, reportedly worth up to 7.5 billion euros ($10.7 billion), of the stake in Loterias y Apuestas del Estado, organiser of the countrys El Gordo, or the Fat One, Christmas lottery, is the biggest in Spain's history.

It forms part of a government privatisation programme aimed at slashing the public deficit down to within the European Union's agreed ceiling of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product in 2013.

The listing had been expected to take place during the first week of November but the government now wants to ensure it is completed before an early general election on November 20, the online editions of business dailies Cinco Dias and Expansion reported.

The state lottery company, established in its current form in 1985 by royal decree to unify Spain's various state gaming enterprises, reported a net profit of 2.99 billion euros in 2009, with 2.92 billion euros going to the treasury.

The listing forms part of a government privatisation programme including the sale of a 50-percent stake in airport management company AENA, which runs the main Madrid and Barcelona gateways.

Spain's public deficit last year amounted to 9.2 percent of GDP. The government has vowed to slice the deficit progressively to 6.0 percent of GDP this year, 4.0 percent in 2012 and 3.0 percent in 2013.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday called general elections for November 20, four months early, saying he had moved forward the date to provide some certainty to the markets.

© 2011 AFP

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