The French government has frozen plans to sell its stakes in Lyon, Montpellier, Toulouse and Bordeaux airports after local authorities opposed the plans, according to reports in French newspaper La Tribune.
The government owns 60% of the four airports and had intended to sell just under 50% of its share onto private companies such as the construction firm Vinci, which already operates nine airports in France. Airport operator Aéroports de Paris is also believed to be in the running.
A spokesperson for Vinci said: “We've always said we were a natural private partner for French airports and that we would be available if and when French public authorities decide on partial privatisation.”
La Tribune reports that the central government is opposed to selling the airport stakes to the local authorities. Originally, the sale was to be carried out before the presidential elections, which are due to take place in May 2012.
At the moment, the four airports are 60% owned by the French central government, 25% by the respective local Chambers of Commerce and 15% by local authorities.