GDF Suez 'eyes Bahrain power stake sale'
Manama, July 28, 2011
French gas and power group GDF Suez plans to sell its 30 percent stake in Bahrain's Al Hidd power and water desalination plant and has mandated HSBC as an adviser, two banking sources familiar with the matter said.
The stake held by the world's biggest utility carries an enterprise value of $200 million, one of the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. The sources did not want to be identified as the matter has not been made public yet.
HSBC and GDF Suez Middle East were not immediately available for comment.
Japan's Sumitomo Corp holds a 30 percent stake in the plant while British utility International Power, which was taken over by GDF Suez early this year, holds the remaining 40 percent stake in the joint venture. IP's stake is not being considered for sale, the source said.
Sumitomo also has the right to acquire the stake before any other party and is likely to be a buyer from GDF, the source said.
The purchase agreement, signed in 2006 with the Bahrain government for $738 million, was the biggest privatisation project in the country's history at the time. The joint venture planned an additional desalination plant, taking total project costs to $1.25 billion.
GDF, owner of the largest gas transport network in Europe, is also the top shareholder in the $2.1 billion Al Dur power and water project in Bahrain with a 45 percent stake.
GDF has several projects in the Middle East spanning countries such as the UAE and Oman. It is also the developer of Shuweihat 2 water and power project in Abu Dhabi. - Reuters