At least six funds interested in Sanofi European generic drugs unit -Le Figaro

A logo is seen in front of the entrance at the headquarters French drugmaker Sanofi in Paris October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French pharmaceutical group Sanofi SASY.PA is set to start the process to sell its generic drug business in Europe, and at least six funds have expressed interest to investment banks mandated by group, France's Le Figaro newspaper reported.

Rothschild and JP Morgan, two investment banks mandated by Sanofi to handle the divestment, will send out memos to potential buyers in the next few weeks, Le Figaro said in its Friday edition.

Sources told Reuters in March that Rothschild [ROT.UL], JP Morgan JPM.N and Morgan Stanley MS.N had been asked to organize the long-awaited deal. nL5N1H62PO

Many investment funds have shown an interest including Blackstone BX.N, CVC, BC Partners, Carlyle CG.O, Cinven and Advent, the paper said, without citing its sources. It added that the bankers were expecting the first indicative bids within two months.

It said Sanofi was expecting about 3 billion euros ($3.51 billion) from the sale.

A spokesperson for Sanofi declined to comment. The banks and funds could not be reached for comment.

Sanofi said in January that it intends to finalize the sale of the generic drugs business by the end of 2018. The unit reported about 800 million euros in sales in 2015.

Reporting by Dominique Rodriquez and Bate Felix