Suez-GDF merger to be notified to EU in April

28th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 28, 2006 (AFP) - The anti-trust services of the European Commission will be notified of a proposed merger between French energy group Gaz de France and Suez in April, the companies said on Tuesday.

PARIS, Feb 28, 2006 (AFP) - The anti-trust services of the European Commission will be notified of a proposed merger between French energy group Gaz de France and Suez in April, the companies said on Tuesday.

The merger, which was put together by the French government amid fears that Italian group Enel would make a bid for Suez, has irked the Italian government, which has asked the EU to intervene.

Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti was to begin lobbying EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes during a meeting in Brussels later on Tuesday and he was expected to meet internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy on Wednesday.

The deal has posed a dilemma for the EU Commission, which has responsibility for vetting takeovers that affect competition at a European level. It has spoken in harsh terms against energy market concentration but is also eager to avoid a clash with a big member state such as France.

If the merger is allowed by Brussels, the group is to be led by the current chief executive of Suez, Gerard Mestrallet, who said at a press conference in Paris that the chief executive of GDF, Jean-Francois Cirelli, would become his number two.

A calendar released by the companies indicated that the deal would be notified to the EU in April and would be approved by the boards of the two companies in late September.

Shareholders are to be asked to approve the transaction at an extraordinary meeting in mid-December.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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