Electrabel to raise CNR stake

17 July 2003 - Belgian utility Electrabel said on Wednesday it will acquire the 22.22 per cent stake in Compagnie Nationale du Rhone held by Electricité de France, raising its stake to 47.82 per cent.

"The sale will boost Electrabel's shareholding to 47.82 per cent by the end of 2003, respecting the public majority required by law," Electrabel said in a statement after market close.

A spokeswoman for Electrabel declined comment on the financial details of the deal which will be completed by year-end.

The French daily Les Echos said earlier this month state-owned EdF hoped to get €265m ($295.3m) for the holding.

Electrabel was looking to raise its stake in CNR, France's second-largest electricity producer after EdF, to expand its market share in France.

The Belgian-based firm is targeting 10-15 percent of the country's liberalised power market, up from less than five percent currently.

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