July 23, 2008

Centrica to Increase Shareholding in SPE to 51%

British energy group Centrica has announced that it will increase its shareholding in Belgian power generation and supply company SPE to a 51% controlling stake.

Centrica has exercised its pre-emption right over the 25.5% interest in SPE currently held by GDF International through an acquisition of Gaz de France's (GDF) 50% stake in the 50-50 joint venture, Segebel. This will be added to Centrica's existing 25.5% interest.

GDF was obliged to dispose of its stake in SPE as part of the anti-trust remedies imposed by the European Commission as a condition to its approval of the GDF-Suez merger.

On completion, which is expected to take place in September 2008, Centrica will pay E515 million in cash for GDF's 25.5% stake in SPE. Additionally, a deferred consideration of up to E105 million will be payable based on the final terms and the timing of approval of the Pax Electrica-2 agreements under which SPE will acquire additional power offtake from Belgian nuclear power plants.

Sam Laidlaw, Centrica's CEO, said: "Our 51% stake in SPE increases the opportunities for Centrica in Europe, and the Pax Electrica-2 agreements further enhance the value of this stake by making SPE increasingly competitive in the Belgian marketplace."