CIC in talks to invest €2.3-bn in GDF Suez's E&P business

GDF Suez SA, the world's biggest power utility by revenue, today said that it is was in advanced talks to sell a 30-per cent stake in its production and exploration business to Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) for €2.3 billion.

CIC is also planning to invest $850 million for a 10-per cent stake in the French energy giant's Atlantic LNG liquefaction facility located in Trinidad and Tobago.

CIC will help fund GDF Suez investments across the Asia-Pacific region including China in a deal that will give China access to new energy resources.

"It's an important step for the group," said GDF Suez's CEO Gerard Mestrallet on the proposed China deal. "It confirms our target to grow in emerging countries."

Mestrallet also said that the company plans to boost its electricity production business in the Asia Pacific region by 5 per cent in the next two years.

Lou Jiwei, chairman and CEO of CIC said, ''CIC appreciates the opportunity to access a wealth of attractive joint investment opportunities alongside GDF Suez across its strong competencies, for example in gas, power, environmental and other energy efficiency services. Our investment of 30 per cent in GDF Suez E&P would be our first sizeable transaction in Europe to date and, together with Atlantic LNG, one of our most important investments worldwide.''
 
For China, the deal will boost its clean energy drive since it currently mainly relies on coal energy and is turning to turn towards gas, and GDF Suez, whose production is in the North Sea and the Maghreb, has major projects in Asia-Pacific, Australia and Indonesia.