EU to clear GDF takeover of International Power: source

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The European Commission will clear Wednesday the takeover of Britain's International Power by French energy giant GDF Suez, creating the world's second largest electricity producer, a source close to the matter told AFP.

GDF will give up a 33 percent stake that International Power owns in a power plant in Belgium in order to lift the objections of Belgian and European regulators, the source said.

The new plant, under construction in the northern region of Flanders, risked coming under the control of Electrabel, a GDF-owned Belgian utility company.

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 green light from Europe's competition watchdog will be conditional on the sale of the stake in the power plant, the source said.

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 (1.6 billion euros, $2.2 billion).

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.

© 2011 AFP

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