The French government has sold a 4.5% stake in energy group Engie (EPA:ENGI) as the first step in a EUR-10-billion (USD 12bn) asset disposal plan announced in July, the economy ministry said Wednesday.
The state has raised EUR 1.53 billion through the sale which will go towards French president Emmanuel Macron's planned innovation fund. The price per share was EUR 13.8.
The Engie shares were sold on Tuesday by government shareholding agency APE via an accelerated institutional placement. The ministry said the disposal is part of a policy of more actively managing government holdings and channelling the resources to where they are needed most.
After the transaction, the French state remains Engie's leading shareholder with a 24.1% stake and 27.6% of voting rights. The government said it remained committed to the company and its transformation plan announced in 2016 that includes a focus on low-carbon activities.
Engie concurrently acquired 0.46% of its own shares, as part of its share buyback programme, which will be allocated to employee savings schemes.
Presenting Engie's 2017 half-year results in July, chief executive Isabelle Kocher said the group has a strong medium-term pipeline of renewable projects. Currently, it has almost 700 MW of solar under construction, mainly in France, Latin America and India, and 600 MW of wind. According to its website, Engie has 21.5 GW of renewable power capacity, accounting for 18.3% of its fleet.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.194)
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