France to raise €4.2bn from sale of stakes in EDF and GDF Suez

The French government is likely to receive as much as EUR4.2bn (USD5.5bn) from selling portions of its stakes in utilities Electricite de France SA (EPA:EDF) and GDF Suez SA (EPA:GSZ), Reuters reported.

A senior government source told the news agency that France would use the proceeds from the sale for investments in new industries.

French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg earlier told France 5 television in an interview that the government was considering the possibility of reducing its stakes in partly state-owned companies in the energy and transport sectors.

He did not name any companies but gave an example, saying that nothing would change if the government cut its shareholding to 33% from 36.7% or to 75% from 84.4%.

At the end of last year, France held a 36.7% stake in French utility GDF Suez SA (EPA:GSZ) and an 84.4% stake in Electricite de France SA (EPA:EDF), Reuters said.

According to Reuters calculations, based on current prices, a 10% stake in EDF would cost some EUR3bn, whereas a 3% stake in GDF Suez would be worth some EUR1.2bn.

A source close to finance minister Pierre Moscovici said previously that only the finance ministry could take a decision on possible stake sales and that at present there was not such a plan.