French Barriere casinos to float shares, an exit for Accor

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French casino company Groupe Lucien Barriere announced on Thursday the terms of a stock market flotation next month valuing it at 575-700 million euros and enabling hotel giant Accor to sell its stake.

Accor, which owns 49 percent of the company, has made several divestments recently and has floated as a separate company its contract catering arm under the name Edenred.

Accor said that in selling its entire holding in the casino group, which also owns some luxury hotels, it was pursuing its strategy of focusing on the hotel industry.

The flotation of Groupe Lucien Barriere will value the business at the equivalent of 748-913 million dollars based on an issue price of 16.10 euros to 19.60 euros per share. Chief executive Dominique Desseigne is to raise his majority interest from 51 percent to 53 percent.

The final issue price will be set on September 30 for a flotation at the beginning of October.

The indicated price range is lower than analysts had expected.

Desseigne said the price range was reasonable and that the moment was right because the group's results were improving and the stock market was performing well.

The group is coming to market just over 100 years after Francois Andre, the uncle of the founder of the group Lucien Barriere, opened his first casino in 1909.

The group now owns 37 casinos and 16 luxury hotels including Fouquet's in Paris and the Majestic in Cannes, and 131 restaurants and bars.

It has annual sales of about 1.0 billion euros and employs 6,600 people.

© 2010 AFP

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