France to Allow Private Investors to Buy into GRTgaz Gas Grid

 PARIS (Reuters) – France will allow gas utility Engie to sell part of the main French gas grid, GRTgaz, to private investors, according to a planned parliamentary bill, as the government eyes a series of possible privatizations to boost the economy.

The gas grid, which manages most French gas pipelines and storage sites, is currently 75% owned by Engie, with the remaining 25% owned by state investor Caisse des Depots and insurer CNP.

The new law will allow the state-controlled investors to jointly hold only a majority stake in GRTgaz, rather than the entire capital, according to a version of the bill cited by top French court Conseil d'Etat.

A separate, smaller French gas grid company in the southwest of the country, TIGF, is controlled by Italy's Snam, Europe's biggest pipeline operator, which has a strategic alliance with Belgium's Fluxys.

President Emmanuel Macron's government is planning several large privatisations with the proceeds already earmarked for a new $11.6 billion (10 billion euro) innovation fund.


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