July 11, 2014 / 4:15 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-French state to sell up to 49.99 percent of Toulouse airport

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PARIS, July 11 (Reuters) - France plans to put on sale up to 49.99 percent of Toulouse-Blagnac airport in southwest France, as the cash-strapped government seeks to finance the purchase of a stake in Alstom.

The finance ministry said in a statement it owned 60 percent of the airport and that a sale by public tender should allow it to pick a buyer by next November.

The Toulouse Chamber of Commerce was welcome to sell part of its 25 percent stake in parallel with the state’s sale, the ministry said. A further 15 percent is owned by various local government bodies.

French group Vinci, Europe’s biggest construction and concession company, declined to comment on whether it was interested in the sale.

The company operates 23 airports worldwide, including 10 in France, and is counting on airports to help drive its growth.

The sale of France’s regional airports has long been mooted, with those in the eastern city of Lyon and the Riviera city of Nice also often cited as potential candidates.

The government recently indicated that it aimed to sell some of the stakes in companies whose shares it owns to help finance the purchase of a 20 percent stake in French industrial group Alstom. (Reporting by Brian Love, Gilles Guillaume and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva and Andrew Roche)

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