France Begins IPO Process of Lottery Operator FDJ


State-controlled lottery operator Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) on Friday kicked off the first step of a long-awaited privatization drive in France, saying it had approval from the country’s stock market operator to register its listing document.

The price of the initial public offering, which the French government wants to attract as many small shareholders as possible, will be determined next month, the FDJ’s Chairwoman and CEO Stephane Pallez said.

“I can’t answer a question about the price today because the (French) state has its own process to fix a price”, she told RTL radio.

“We’re more talking about dozens of euros than a hundred euros”, Pallez added, saying a huge marketing campaign would be launched at the end of next week.

The privatization of companies such as airports group ADP and FDJ is integral to President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise money to fund innovation projects and boost the overall economy.

It comes at a turbulent time for stock market listings in Europe, however, with Italian luxury yacht maker Ferretti becoming the fourth group to cancel its flotation on Thursday amid global trade tensions and Brexit angst.

The French government has said the subscription period for FDJ shares will run from Nov. 7-20 and has indicated the privatization could raise 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

Successor of the National Lottery, created in 1933 to help war invalids, FDJ employs 2,500 people across two main business lines: lottery and sports betting.