GDF Suez may lose control of Suez Env to cut debt-report

PARIS Wed Dec 5, 2012 9:41am EST

PARIS Dec 5 (Reuters) - French utility GDF Suez on Thursday may move to dissolve a pact binding water and waste company Suez Environnement's main shareholders in a bid to cut GDF's own debt burden, La Tribune.fr said on Wednesday.

GDF Suez may announce that it will not renew the alliance that controls 48.4 percent of Suez Environnement's capital on Thursday morning, ahead of GDF's investor day, the website said. Such a move would result in GDF Suez losing effective control of Suez.

Under the pact that expires on July 22, 2013, GDF Suez owns 35.7 percent of Suez Environnement, Belgian investor Albert Frere has 7.2 percent, state-owned bank Caisse des Depots (CDC) 2 percent, nuclear operator Areva 1.4 percent, CNP Assurances 1.3 percent and holding company Sofina 0.8 percent.

"The shareholders do not wish to renew it (the pact)" La Tribune.fr said, citing a source close to the matter.

GDF Suez declined to comment. A group spokesman said the company was holding a board meeting ahead of its investor day on Thursday.

Suez Environnement also declined to comment.

Areva and Belgian investor Albert Frere could not immediately be reached for comment while CDC and CNP Assurances declined immediate comment.

As controlling shareholder under the pact, GDF Suez consolidates 100 percent of the debt of Suez Environnement.

While GDF Suez may still own 35.7 percent of Suez Environment once the pact ends it would lose its controling shareholder status and this would allow it to consolidate just 35.7 percent of the debt.

GDF Suez is expected to outline more cost cuts to cope with Europe's downturn, when the French utility updates its outlook on Thursday for what it has said will be a difficult 2013, analysts have said. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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