SUEZ, the lead shareholder of Fortis with 140 million shares (10.8% ownership), has sold most of its shares in the company.
A total of 50 million Fortis shares were sold on the market through a "bought deal", with a view to a further sale to institutional investors; and 70 million shares were cashed in through the issue of a mandatory exchangeable bond into Fortis, carrying an exit price between 17 euros and 20 euros with a 3 years maturity.
These combined transactions allow the Group to cash in 1.8 billion euros and enable it to reduce net debt by the same amount.
Following this transaction, SUEZ holds 1.5% of Fortis capital (20 million shares). This stake constitutes an underlying position for the exchangeable bond issued in July 2000.
These transactions were carried out at a time when Fortis share reached levels close to the share price at the end of 2002.
SUEZ is no longer present on the board of directors of Fortis and thus demonstrates its divestment of this company, which has been the historical partner of SUEZ.
These transactions demonstrates SUEZ will to divest its non strategic assets before the end of the 2003-2004 action plan.
These transactions have been carried out by UBS Warburg.
SUEZ, a worldwide industrial and services Group, provides innovative solutions in energy (electricity and gas) and the environment (water and waste services).
It generated 2002 revenues of EUR 40.218 billion (excluding energy trading). The Group is listed on the Euronext Paris, Euronext Brussels, Luxemburg, Zurich and New York Stock Exchanges.