GDF SUEZ sells its natural gas distribution assets in Italy
GDF SUEZ has signed a firm and final agreement with the consortium composed by F2i infrastructure fund and AXA Private Equity for the disposal of G6 Rete Gas. The transaction prices the distribution assets at €772 million, which amounts to 103% of the 2010 regulated asset base, 9.3 times the Ebitda and 17.5 times the net income. The closing of the operation is expected during the 4th quarter of 2011.
This transaction is part of the Group's asset optimization program of €10 billion by 2013, announced at the 2010 annual results presentation. The competitive process for the sale, begun early this year, aroused strong interest from of Italian and international players.
After restructuring its energy sector partnership, GDF SUEZ decided to focus its development in Italy principally around the production of electricity, mainly from renewable energy sources, and marketing electricity and natural gas. Within these new strategic orientations, the Group made several investments in 2010 reaching nearly €400 million. In addition, since the International Power acquisition, GDF SUEZ has become Italy's largest producer of wind power. Finally, the launch of the "GDF SUEZ" brand in Italy will enhance the Group's visibility among final customers and publicize its ambitions in the country. GDF SUEZ is looking to double its customer base to 2 million by 2015.
Italy is the Group's third largest country in terms of revenues after France and Belgium, its two domestic markets. The Group already plays a leading role there and intends to position itself among the country's three leading players. Active across the entire energy value change and enjoying a fast-growing customer base, GDF SUEZ is number one in the field of energy services through its subsidiary Cofely, the third largest natural gas operator with over 1.2 million customers, and the fourth largest electrical operator. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT also has a strong position with more than 2.4 million users of its environmental services.