GDF Suez completes UK takeover

FRANCE’S partially state-owned gas and electric utility GDF Suez has completed its €21.5bn (£18.14bn) takeover of Britain’s International Power, creating the world’s largest independent power producer.

GDF Suez agreed last August to combine its assets in North America, Latin America and the Middle East with International Power, to create a new company with total generating capacity of 66 gigawatts.

GDF Suez owns 70 per cent of the new company, with the rest in the hands of International Power’s existing shareholders. The deal received its last regulatory approval in January.

Under the terms of the agreement, GDF Suez, Europe’s second-largest utility, will transfer some assets to International Power. The enlarged company is expected to have annual sales of €84bn, making it the world’s largest utility by sales.

GDF Suez’s tie-up with International Power follows the 2008 sale of British Energy to French nuclear power group EDF, showing the appetite of French utilities for Britain.

The deal, announced last year after months of on-and-off talks, will open GDF Suez to new markets in Asia and Australia, and enhance the French group’s position in the Middle East.