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SUEZ has sold its remaining 25% stake in Northumbrian Water Group PLC to Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan for EUR 377 million, generating a capital gain of more than EUR 260 million. This transaction is in line with SUEZ's policy to focus on less capital-intensive activities and completes a divestment process of Northumbrian Water Group PLC begun in May 2003.
The sale of 75% of Northumbrian Water Group PLC announced in May 2003 contributed to significantly improve the return on capital employed (from 9% to 13.5%) of the Group's water activities in Europe. It also boosted its cash flows, releasing it from investment programs related to U.K. regulatory framework. As a result, the Group was able to divide by 20 the capital employed in water in the United Kingdom.
This disposal will not impact Group revenues because in the SUEZ income statement Northumbrian Water Group PLC has been accounted for under the equity method. Nevertheless, it will contribute more than EUR 260 million to SUEZ income for first-half 2005. The sale will also free up financial resources to expand in other environment activities in Europe and reflects the Group's strategy to direct its developments on market segments and countries which present the greatest opportunity and the strongest returns on capital employed.
SUEZ, an international industrial and services Group, designs sustainable and innovative solutions in the management of public utilities as a partner of public authorities, businesses and individuals. The Group aims to answer essential needs in electricity, natural gas, energy services, water and waste management. SUEZ is listed on the Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, New York and Zurich stock exchanges and is represented in the major international indices: CAC 40, DJ STOXX 50, DJ EURO STOXX 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe and ASPI Eurozone. The Group employs 160,700 people worldwide and achieved revenues of EUR40.7 billion in 2004, 89% of which were generated in Europe and in North America. SUEZ is an official sponsor of Paris 2012.