Following a green light on the plan from the European Commission, the French government has sold a sizable stake in the gas and oil giant Engie (formerly GDF Suez) in order to finance the rescue of nuclear power concern AREVA.
The government sold 100 million shares, about 10 million more than expected, dropping its Engie holdings by 4.1 percent and earning 1.14 billion euros or $1.2 billion in the sale, AFP reports.
The government's stake in Engine dropped to 27.7 percent, although its voting power is higher, 32.6 percent, due to the nature of its shares. With that, the government remains the largest single shareholder in Engie.
The government said last year that it would divest of some Engie holdings in order to finance a rescue of AREVA, which lost about $5 billion in 2014 and more than $2 billion in 2015 in part due to a slowdown in the industry that is attributed to safety concerns promted by the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
The European Commission on Tuesday approved of the plan to inject about 4.5 billion euros or $4.8 billion into AREVA, but made the deal contingent on approval from anti-trust regulators who need to give the go-ahead on the plan to sell the company to EDF, the utility that is 85 percent owned by the French government.
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