France Sells GDF Suez Holding for EUR1.5 Billion to Fund Purchase of Stake in Alstom

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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By Ruth Bender

PARIS--The French government said Wednesday it sold a 3.1% stake in energy group GDF Suez SA (GSZ.FR) for about 1.5 billion euros ($2.04 billion), which will help finance the acquisition of a stake in Alstom SA (ALO.FR).

The sale comes as the French government plans to acquire a 20% stake in French power and transport engineering group Alstom to gain more control over the company's strategy, which is to merge its energy business with that of General Electric Co. ( GE ).

The government said on Tuesday it would sell a 3.1% stake in utility GDF Suez, with an option to sell as much as 3.6%.

Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said at the weekend that the government could pay for the stake with the proceeds from the sales of holdings in such companies as Aeroports de Paris (ADP.FR), Airbus Group NV (AIR.FR) and Safran SA (SAF.FR), but didn't mentioned GDF Suez.

The government will still holds 33.6% in GDF Suez.

Write to Ruth Bender at ruth.bender@wsj.com

Corrections and Amplifications

This item was correcetd at 07:57 GMT. The original misstated the currency conversion in the first paragraph. It should be $2.04 billion.

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