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EU clears GDF takeover of International Power: source

EU Business (Link) (January 26, 2011)

The European Commission on Wednesday cleared the takeover of Britain�s International Power by French energy giant GDF Suez, creating the world�s second largest electricity producer.

The clearance is conditional on GDF giving up a 33 percent stake in T-Power, owner of International Power which also owns a power plant in Belgium that is due to start production in 2011.

Without the divestment, the plant, under construction in the northern region of Flanders, risked coming under the control of Electrabel, a GDF-owned Belgian utility company.

�The commitments offered by the parties addressed the concerns identified by the Commission that the deal could have enabled GDF Suez to restrict competition and raise prices in the Belgian wholesale market,� a statement from the commission said.

�These commitments will ensure that competition is maintained and that consumers get the best possible result in terms of price and choice,� it added.

Belgium�s anti-trust regulators had expressed concern in December that the GDF-International Power deal would reinforce Electrabel�s dominant position in the country�s energy market.

The deal has already been approved by US, Canadian, Australian, Brazilian and Turkish authorities.

The operation will lead to the creation of the world�s second biggest electricity producer after another French utility company, EDF.

GDF and International Power announced last August that the French company would pay 92 pence per share to International Power stakeholders for a total price of 1.4 billion pounds (1.6 billion euros, 2.2 billion dollars).

The French giant was formed in 2008 by the fusion of public enterprise Gaz de France and Suez, a private Franco-Belgian company. It specialises in processing liquefied natural gas and energy production.

International Power runs 45 power plants worldwide. �