GDF Suez, International Power enter into merger deal

France's gas and electric utility GDF Suez SA has entered into a merger deal with Britain's International Power. The move would create the world's largest independent power producer, with more than 66,000 megawatts of capacity.

Under the proposed deal, International Power will merge with GDF Suez Energy International to create a new International Power 70 percent owned by GDF Suez.

The new business, which will combine International Power's 45 power stations and the international assets of GDF, will continue to be listed on the London Stock Exchange with GDF as its majority shareholder, Bloomberg reported.

GDF Suez also will pay International Power shareholders 92 pence per share, or 1.4 billion pounds (US$2.2 billion) in total, to form a company owned 70 percent by GDF Suez and 30 percent by International Power's existing shareholders, according to Associated Press reports.

Gerard Mestrallet, the chairman of GDF, said: "The combined business will have both the operational expertise and the financial flexibility to capture the significant growth opportunities in international energy infrastructure markets over the next decade."

The merger is conditional upon agreement of definitive documentation and the approval of International Power’s shareholders. Completion is expected at the end of 2010 or in early 2011.

GDF and IP are active in many facets of the energy industry, including hydropower, wind power and natural gas. Recently, GDF Suez announced it will invest about 450 million euros (US$600 million) in Peruvian hydro and thermal power plants.

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