EDF sells its 4 percent stake in Veolia Environnement

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 26, 2013 12:52 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF said on Tuesday it planned to sell its 4.01 percent stake in water and waste group Veolia Environnement to institutional investors.

Traders told Reuters the 22.02 million shares would be priced between 11.85 euros and today's close at 12.185 euros, which would value the operation at up to 268 million euros ($363 million).

Upon completion of the offering, which will be managed by Morgan Stanley, EDF will have sold all of its shares in Veolia, the company said.

Veolia has a diversified and largely institutional shareholder register, with the top ten investors owning just 35.16 percent of its capital, Reuters Eikon data shows.

French state-owned bank CDC is the leading shareholder with 8.85 percent, followed by Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault with 5.99 percent and Groupama Asset Management with 5.20 percent.

EDF was Veolia's fourth-largest shareholder, ahead of the Government of Qatar, which has a 3.79 percent stake.

EDF, whose CEO Henri Proglio was CEO of Veolia until 2009, has been unwinding its ties with Veolia. Earlier this month, the two companies agreed to split up their joint energy services unit Dalkia, with EDF taking over Dalkia's French and Veolia its international activities.

For EDF, the Dalkia deal and the Veolia stake sale are part of a strategy to gradually sell stakes in subsidiaries in which it does not have majority control.

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The Dalkia deal had been one of the most difficult to unwind due to acrimony between Proglio and his successor Antoine Frerot at Veolia. Frerot has spent the past years cutting debt and selling assets in the wake of Proglio's debt-fuelled expansion spree and survived a boardroom coup to unseat him last year.

($1 = 0.7374 euros)

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Blaise Robinson; editing by David Evans)