Toll-road sale gains France 14.8 billion euros

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Toll-road sale gains France 14.8 billion euros

Toll-road sale gains France 14.8 billion euros
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France has raised a larger than expected amount from its controversial sale of majority stakes in three motorway toll firms.

The shares in the companies, which control most of the country’s holiday routes, will be sold for 14.8 billion euros.

The government’s 75% stake in Sanef, the north and eastern motorway operator, has gone to Spanish consortium Abertis.

French construction group Eiffage, in partnership with Australia’s Macquarie, got a 70% share in APRR, the group linking Paris with the south-east.

And the 50% stake in ASF was won by Vinci, which already owns 23% of the south of France operator.

The finance ministry says it will use around 10 billion euros of the money raised to pay down state debt.

French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and Finance Minister Thierry Breton went ahead with the sale despite challenges from all political parties.

Even some within the government’s centre right parliamentary majority protested that assets were being sold on the cheap.

But the final price of 14.8 billion is more than the 10 to 12 billion that was expected when the process began in August.