French market watchdog okays Europe’s biggest energy merger

June 17th, 2008 - 7:17 am ICT by IANS  

Paris, June 16 (DPA) French natural gas supplier Gaz de France (GDF) and energy concern Suez said Monday that stock market authorities had given their approval to the companies’ mega-merger, which could take place July 22, pending shareholders’ approval. The merger would create one of Europe’s largest energy groups, GDF Suez, with the French state holding a blocking minority stake of 36.5 percent.

At the same time, it would pave the way for the launch on the Paris and Brussels markets of the water supply and treatment company Suez Environnement, Suez chief executive Gerard Mestrallet said.

Suez Environnement would have annual sales of some 12 billion euros and 62,000 employees, with the company being spun off from the Suez parent as part of the terms of making the merger between Suez and GDF one of near-equals.

In 2007, the private Suez concern had 47.5 billion euros in turnover, compared with 27.4 billion euros for the state-controlled GDF.

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