Frère to reduce 5 per cent holding in Iberdrola

5 December 2007 - Albert Frère, the billionaire financier, has begun selling his stake in Iberdrola, six months after announcing he had built a 5 per cent holding in Spain's biggest electricity group.

GBL, Mr Frère's main investment vehicle, said on Monday that it and CNP, another holding group, had agreed the sale of a joint 2.2 per cent of Iberdrola.

GBL's stake, of 1.32 per cent, fetched €752m ($1.098bn), giving a "consolidated capital gain" of €122m. CNP said it would book €93m in capital gains from a business worth €501m. The sale price, of around €11.4 a share, represents a slight premium over Tuesday's trading price.

Both stakes have been sold to Iberdrola, whose own treasury is authorised by the board to own up to 5 per cent of the company's share capital.

Directors are keen to avoid dramatic fluctuations in the share price as the group prepares to spin off its renewable energies business into a separately-listed company. The sale puts an end to speculation that Mr Frère was building a strategic position in the company with a view to one day brokering a tie-up with other European energy groups.

Although alluding to further share purchases in Iberdrola, he never sought board representation. He is expected to continue selling down his stake.

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