(Adds details, background, CEO comment, share performance)
PARIS, July 18 Suez Environnement has
agreed to buy the remaining stake in its Spanish water unit,
Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar), from La Caixa, which will in turn
become the French waste and water group's second-biggest
Suez said it would pay for the 24.1 percent stake in Agbar
with 22 million new Suez shares and 299 million euros ($404
million) in cash, giving La Caixa a 4.1 percent holding in the
French company that it plans to raise to 7 percent in the
The deal will help reinforce Suez's business in southern
Europe and Latin America, and will bolster its ownership
structure with a new long-term shareholder, Suez said in a
statement on Friday.
The transaction will have a limited effect on Suez's net
debt and a positive impact on annual net profit of over 25
million euros from 2015 onwards, Suez said.
The deal will also see Spanish lender La Caixa use some of
the cash to buy a 15 percent stake in Aigues de Barcelona, which
manages water and waste in the Barcelona area, from Agbar and a
14.5 percent holding in Aguas de Valencia from Suez.
Taking those transactions into account, the deal will cost
Suez 200 million euros in cash, Suez Chief Executive Jean-Louis
Chaussade said on a conference call.
La Caixa will also appoint a member to the board of Suez who
will sit on its strategy committee. It has agreed to hold on to
its Suez shares for at least four years.
Chaussade said he expected the deal to be completed by the
end of the year.
French utility GDF Suez remains Suez' top
shareholder with a 36 percent stake. The stock has lost around
10 percent in the last month, but remains up 5 percent since the
start of the year.
($1 = 0.7396 Euros)
(Reporting by James Regan and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by
Astrid Wendlandt and Pravin Char)