ADP Shares Plunge After French Privatization Plan Is Put on Hold

(Bloomberg) -- Aeroports de Paris shares dropped the most in almost a decade after France’s constitutional court effectively suspended a privatization plan pending the outcome of an opposition-led referendum process.

Stock in the operator of Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports on Friday dropped as much as 9.6 percent, the most since June 2009, wiping out as much as 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in market value. Citigroup said in a note that the “window of opportunity for the sell-down of ADP has closed, at least for now.”

ADP Shares Plunge After French Privatization Plan Is Put on Hold

“We won’t carry out any privatization operation” during the referendum proceedings, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday in a CNews television interview. France has a 50.6 percent holding in ADP and a sale of a stake is part of a plan by the government to raise 10 billion euros to fund innovation and lower debt.

The court on Thursday cleared the way for a referendum on whether the airports operator should be declared a public good. In its decision, the court ruled that a vote proposed by parties opposing the privatization meets constitutional requirements, meaning lawmakers now have nine months to get the backing of at least 4.72 million registered voters for the referendum plan.

“I continue to think that this privatization is a good thing,” French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said Friday in an interview on LCI television.

The referendum would be the first of its kind. Lawmakers from across the political spectrum have taken aim at the privatization legislation that’s making its way through parliament, which would pave the way for the government to sell stakes in companies including ADP.

ADP has said it plans to double investment in its Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget airports around the French capital, building a new terminal, refurbishing existing ones, and improving road access. It also aims to operate more hubs abroad.

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