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GDF SUEZ SA history, profile and corporate video

GDF SUEZ SA engages in the provision of energy related services. The company operates its business through eight segments: Energy France, Energy Benelux & Germany, Energy Europe, International Power, Global Gas & Liquefied Natural Gas, Infrastructures, Energy Services, and SUEZ Environnement. The Energy France segment operates in France and ensures gas and electricity supplies, electricity production,and the provision of energy services to private individuals. The Energy Benelux & Germany segment produces and sells electricity and gas, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany. The Energy Europe segment produces electricity and provides electricity and gas transmission, distribution and sales services. The Global Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas segment is in charge of the exploration and production of natural gas and oil, supply and shipping of natural gas and liquefied natural gas, and energy trading. The Infrastructures segment builds and operates large natural gas transport infrastructures, regasification terminals, and distribution networks. The International Power segment engages in the prodution and marketing of power in North America, Latin America, Asia, the United Kingdom and Other Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. The Energy Services segment provides comprehensive multi-technical service packages, engineering, urban heat and cooling network management, design, construction, and operation of industrial and tertiary energy facilities. The SUEZ Environnement segment offers water, sanitation, and waste management services. It also provides water treatment engineering and manages storage activities. The company was founded on April 8, 1946 and is headquartered in Courbevoie, France.

“GDF Suez History

Background (before 2006)

Prior to the GDF SUEZ merger plans in 2006, the company existed as two separate French multinational corporations – Suez S.A. and Gaz de France, with a heritage tracing two centuries.

Suez was (and still remains, through GDF SUEZ as) one of the oldest continuously existing multinational corporations in the world as the result of nearly two centuries of reorganisation and corporate mergers. One line of corporate history dates back to the 1822 founded Algemeene Nederlandsche Maatschappij ter begunstiging van de volksvlijt(literally: General Dutch Company for the favouring of industry) by King William I of the Netherlands (see Société Générale de Belgique). The origin of its name ‘Suez’ traces back to its another founding entity – the Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez founded in 1858 to build the Suez Canal. Suez S.A. was result of a 1997 merger between theCompagnie de Suez and Lyonnaise des Eaux.

Gaz de France was created in 1946 along with its sister company Électricité de France (EDF) by the French Government. After the liberalisation of Europe’s energy markets, Gaz de France also entered into the electricity sector, having developed combined natural gas-electricity offerings. The company’s capital was partially floated on the Paris Stock Exchange in July 2005, raising €2.5 billion for the French Government.

Evolution of GDF SUEZ (2006 – 2008)

On February 25, 2006, French Prime minister Dominique de Villepin announced the merger of water supply and treatment, waste management and energy company Suez and power firm Gaz de France, with the aim of creating the world’s largest liquefied natural gas company. Since the French state owned over 80% of Gaz de France, it was necessary to pass a new law in order to make the merger possible. Whilst Nicolas Sarkozy was for several months opposed to the Villepin government’s plans for a merger of the two companies, preferring a three-way deal with Italy’s Enel which would maintain a controlling stake for the state, he subsequently accepted the government proposal.

The plan for a merger between Gaz de France and Suez came under fire from the whole of the political left, which feared the loss of one of the last ways of preventing the price rises experienced over the previous three years, and by the social Gaullists and trade unions. In August 2006, the left-wing opposition submitted a record-breaking 137,449 amendments to the proposed legislation. Under normal procedure, parliament would have been required to vote on the amendments, which would have taken 10 years. The French Constitution does give the government options to bypass such a filibuster, but in the end these were not used.

Law No. 2006-1537 of December 7, 2006 on the energy sector authorised the privatisation of Gaz de France. On 3 September 2007, Gaz de France and Suez announced agreed terms of merger, on the basis of an exchange of 21 Gaz de France shares for 22 Suez shares via the absorption of Suez by Gaz de France. Various holdings of Gaz de France and Suez had to be divested in order to satisfy the concerns of the European Commissioner for Competition: GDF agreed to sell its approximate 25% stake in Belgian electricity producer SPE for €515 million. The stake was purchased by fellow SPE shareholder Centrica which exercised its right of first refusal, blocking a previous agreement to sell the stake to Électricité de France. Suez, meanwhile, was forced to reduce its shareholding in natural gas distributor Fluxys and sell its Belgian gas supply subsidiary Distrigas toEni.

GDF SUEZ (2008 – present)

The newly created GDF SUEZ came into existence on 22 July 2008; the world’s second-largest utility with over €74 billion in annual revenues.[22] The deal resulted in the conversion of the French state’s 80% stake in GDF into just over 35% of shares of the new company. The water and waste assets which formerly formed part of Suez were spun off into a new publicly traded company, Suez Environment, in which GDF SUEZ retains a stake.

In July 2009, the European Commission fined GDF SUEZ and E.ON €553 million both over arrangements on the MEGAL pipeline.It was the second biggest fines imposed by the European Commission and first one on the energy sector. In 1975, Ruhrgas and Gaz de France concluded a deal according to which they agreed not to sell gas in each other’s home market. The deal was abandoned in 2005.

In October 2009 GDF SUEZ was placed 6th in an A.T. Kearney/BusinessWeek ranking of the “World’s Best Companies”, the highest-placed European firm.

On 10 August 2010 the company announced a merger of its GDF SUEZ Energy International business unit, along with its operations within the United Kingdom and Turkey, withInternational Power. The acquisition created the world’s biggest independent power producer and the enlarged company will retain International Power’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and be 70% owned by GDF Suez.

In December 2010, GDF SUEZ became the key founding member of the ‘Medgrid’ company – a consortium of twenty plus utilities, grid operators, equipment makers, financing institutions and investors; which will implement the ‘Medgrid project’, a French renewable energy initiative within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The project, planned in North Africa, aims to promote and develop a Euro-Mediterranean electricity network of 20GW installed generating capacity, with 5GW being devoted for exports to Europe. The medgrid together with the German initiated Desertec project would serve as the backbone of the European Supergrid.

On 16 April 2012, the purchase of the remaining 30% of International Power was announced by GDF Suez, and the transaction completed in July 2012. GDF SUEZ was advised by Rothschild and Ondra Partners, while Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Nomura advised International Power.

On 9 August 2013, GDF SUEZ, through its Energy Services business line, announced the purchase of Balfour Beatty’s UK Facilities Management business – Balfour Beatty WorkPlace.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “ENGIE