July 26, 2019 / 10:01 AM / a month ago

French airports group ADP CEO - sometimes state shareholding can be hindrance

Augustin de Romanet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe ADP (Aeroports de Paris), attends the presentation of the company's 2019 half-year results in Paris, France, July 26, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - The head of French airports group ADP (ADP.PA), which the government is hoping to privatize, said there were times when having a large, single shareholder could be a hindrance, such as in terms of seeking out big deals.

ADP head Augustin de Romanet said on Friday that having a shareholder with a stake of more than 50% could at times mean ADP could not get the “external deals we want to do” since ADP was limited in using its shares as currency for such deals.

Nevertheless, de Romanet also said blank criticism of the state’s shareholding in ADP was “unfair.”

The French government plans to sell all or part of its 50.6 percent stake in ADP, worth around 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion), as part of a drive to divest some state holdings to finance a 10 billion euros innovation fund.

The move has been met by a diverse group of opponents who are demanding a referendum and have accused President Emmanuel Macron’s government of “flogging the family silver”.

Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Leigh Thomas

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