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Gaz de France privatisation plan faces political problems

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Gaz de France privatisation plan faces political problems

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The plan to privatise Gaz de France and merge it with French utility company Suez is running into trouble. The shotgun marriage between the two was engineered by the French government in February, when it learned that Italy’s Enel was considering a bid for Suez’s energy businesses.

But for the deal to proceed a majority of members of the French parliament would have to vote to change the law that says at least 70% of GDF in public ownership and a large number of lawmakers are said to be opposed. French industry minister François Loos, speaking to EuroNews, was reluctant to talk about the issue.

He would only say that Gas de France is currently mostly publicly owned and that Italy’s Enel is a major electricity producer which co-operates with France’s principal producer of electricity, EDF. But he insisted that all they know is what they read in the newspapers.

The French parliament is about to debate the Gaz de France-Suez merger. But the government has not said whether the GdF privatisation bill will be submitted to parliament for a vote before the summer recess.