DEALTALK-Dozen-plus suitors circling French airports

Mon Sep 7, 2015 11:32am EDT
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* France to sell 60 pct of both Nice and Lyon airports

* Funds and airport operators lining up bids

* Nice airport valuation could top 1.5 bln euros

* Lyon airport worth an estimated 900 mln euros

By Freya Berry and Emiliano Mellino

LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Bidders are queuing up for the privatisation of France's Nice Cote d'Azur and Lyon-Saint-Exupery airports, four sources familiar with the matter said, hoping to land growing returns on the back of rising air traffic.

The sale of France's 60 percent stakes in two of the country's busiest airports offers investors relatively stable assets in a sector that increased passenger numbers by more than 5 percent last year to 3.21 billion, according to data from the World Bank.

Competition between rival hubs and the airlines they serve means that Nice, as the bigger and more developed of the two airports, is the more attractive proposition, sources said, citing its higher earnings and more popular routes.   Continued...