April 22, 2016 / 4:10 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Bidding for Nice airport extended by two weeks

(Adds confirmation by Economy ministry)

By Gilles Guillaume and Matthieu Protard

PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) - France has extended its bidding deadline for the privatisation of Nice airport by two weeks, the economy ministry said on Friday, confirming what three sources had told Reuters earlier.

Indicative offers are now expected by May 12, according to two of the sources with knowledge of the matter, with firm bids due on July 4.

The delay sychronizes the privatisation of Nice, France’s biggest regional aviation hub, with the bidding process for Lyon-Saint Exupery airport, which is also on the block, a spokeswoman for the economy ministry said.

France is expected to raise about 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) from the sale of 60 percent holdings in the two airports, part of a series of infrastructure privatisations designed to help meet budget targets. Toulouse airport was sold in 2014 to a Chinese-led consortium.

Likely bidders who have voiced interest include construction group Vinci, which lost out in the Toulouse contest, private equity fund Ardian and Aeroports de Paris, which runs the French capital’s two main airports.

$1 = 0.8892 euros Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; Writing by Laurence Frost; Editing by Matthias Blamont and Michel Rose

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