(Corrects bond type, to exchangeable from convertible)
* Bonds to be priced at 20-25 pct premium
* Sale expected to be completed today
BRUSSELS, Jan 24 Belgian holding company GBL
will cash in almost half of its stake in French energy
group GDF Suez via 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion) of
exchangeable bonds, as it seeks to raise cash to diversify its
The four-year bonds will be priced at a premium of 20 to 25
percent to GDF shares, which closed on Wednesday at just over 61
The sale represents 2.3 percent of the French group's share
capital, GBL said on Thursday.
GBL, run by Albert Frere, Belgium's richest man, is aiming
to sell the bonds at a yearly coupon of between 0.375 percent
and 1 percent and will announce the results of the offer later
The company said that it considered its remaining stake in
GDF to be an important asset and remained confident in the
energy group's prospects.
"It is in this context that GBL has chosen a financial
instrument providing exposure to the future, the share price
appreciation and at the same continued collection of the
dividends," Frere said in a statement.
The placement of the bonds is led by BNP Paribas Fortis,
Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking
and UBS acting as joint bookrunners. Rothschild acts as
financial adviser to GBL in connection with the placement.
GDF was not immediately available to comment.
($1 = 0.7530 euros)
(Reporting By Ben Deighton; Editing by David Goodman)