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Shell’s Belgian Unit Sells Utilities

Forbes: Shell’s Belgian Unit Sells Utilities

Associated Press

Posted 8 Sept 04

Shell Transport and Trading Co. said Tuesday that its Belgian unit is selling its interest in two utilities to Suez Tractebel S.A. for about 380.4 million euros, or about $459.7 million.

Belgian Shell is selling its 16.67 percent interest in Distrigaz SA, a Belgian gas wholesale company, and its former unit Fluxys SA, a gas transmission company.

Suez Tractebel, Belgium’s largest utility holding company, agreed to pay 1648 euros ($1,991) per share for Distrigaz and 1600 euros ($1,933) per share for Fluxys, Shell said. Distrigaz last traded at 1,900 euros per share on the Brussels Stock Exchange while Fluxys traded at 1,757.50 euros per share.

Shell said discussions for the sale began several months ago and that certain shareholder pre-emption rights need to be observed before the companies close the deal.

In a separate press release, Suez Tractebel said it expects the operations to boost its earnings from the first year. The utility company said the purchases will support its European gas business, which is being developed to complement its European electricity business.

Suez said it is already the controlling shareholder of the two companies, and holds 46.83 percent of each operation.

American depositary receipts of Shell, the minority partner in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, fell 11 cents, or less than a percent, to $44.89 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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