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New French giant GDF Suez interested in British nuclear sites



PARIS, July 17, 2008

Newly formed global energy giant GDF Suez of France is interested in nuclear power operator British Energy but only if the company is split up and sold off site by site.

"If the plan remains to sell British Energy in one go, then it will be sold without us," said GDF Suez head Gerard Mestrallet in an interview with Les Echos daily to appear Thursday.

To acquire the company in a bloc "would require an enormous amount of investigation and in a very short period of time, a very heavy investment in an industry where the least problem costs a lot of money," Mestrallet said.

"That is not in our plans."

The head of GDF Suez, formed Wednesday after shareholders approved the tie-up between Gaz de France and Suez, noted the issue could be revisited "if one returned to the initial plan, which envisaged a sale of the company site by site."

At the same time, "other opportunities besides British Energy will come along -- I am certain of that," he said.

The British government plans to sell its 35.2 percent stake in British Energy but the company said early last month that a series of takeover proposals it had received from unnamed parties undervalued the company.

French state-owned energy giant EDF has been touted as a prospective suitor for the compnay.

Story from AFP
AFP 16 1939 GMT 07 08

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