Electrabel to Buy 40 Pct of French Power Firm SHEM

5 November, 03 Belgian utility Electrabel will buy 40 per cent of Societe Hydroelectrique du Midi (SHEM), the French power company’s owner SNCF said on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for SNCF, the French state rail operator, said the SNCF board would vote on the sale on November 19. She declined to comment on the price, cited as EURO250 million ($286.9 million) by Belgian daily L’Echo.

Last year, Electrabel agreed to buy electricity produced by SHEM with the option of eventually buying 80 per cent of the unit from SNCF. No deadline for the sale was given at that time.

L’Echo said Electrabel would be offered a further 40 per cent of the company in 2005 after taking the first 40 per cent stake by the end of this year.