June 20, 2018 / 6:53 AM / 9 months ago

France to allow private investors to buy into GRTgaz gas grid

PARIS, June 20 (Reuters) - France will allow gas utility Engie to sell part of the main French gas grid, GRTgaz, to private investors, according to a planned parliamentary bill, as the government eyes a series of possible privatisations to boost the economy.

The gas grid, which manages most French gas pipelines and storage sites, is currently 75 percent owned by Engie, with the remaining 25 percent owned by state investor Caisse des Depots and insurer CNP.

The new law will allow the state-controlled investors to jointly hold only a majority stake in GRTgaz, rather than the entire capital, according to a version of the bill cited by top French court Conseil d’Etat.

A separate, smaller French gas grid company in the southwest of the country, TIGF, is controlled by Italy’s Snam, Europe’s biggest pipeline operator, which has a strategic alliance with Belgium’s Fluxys.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government is planning several large privatisations with the proceeds already earmarked for a new 10 billion euro ($11.6 billion) innovation fund.

$1 = 0.8642 euros Reporting by Michel Rose and Myriam Rivet; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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