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Rating Action:

Moody's places GDF SUEZ's Aa3 ratings on review for downgrade

10 Aug 2010

Approximately EUR16 billion rated debt securities affected

London, 10 August 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today placed on review for possible downgrade the Aa3 senior unsecured ratings of GDF SUEZ SA ('GDF SUEZ' or 'the Group'), and the ratings of the GIE Suez Alliance which is guaranteed by GDF SUEZ. Moody's has also placed on review for possible downgrade the A2 issuer ratings of its subsidiaries Electrabel SA (Electrabel) and GDF SUEZ CC, which incorporate a degree of uplift from membership of the Group. The Prime-1 ratings of GDF SUEZ and the GIE Suez Alliance were affirmed. At the same time Moody's has assigned to Electrabel a guaranteed Prime-1 rating and an unguaranteed Prime-1 rating, which has been placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's says that the review for downgrade follows the recent announcement that GDF SUEZ and International Power plc (IPR, rated Ba2 under review for possible upgrade, see separate press release) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the proposed combination of IPR and GDF SUEZ's Energy International Business Areas (outside Europe) and certain assets in the UK and Turkey (collectively 'GDF SUEZ Energy International'). Under the terms of the proposed combination GDF SUEZ is to acquire 70% of IPR through the contribution of GDF SUEZ Energy International into IPR in exchange for newly issued IPR shares. The transaction, which remains subject to certain approvals, is planned to close by end 2010, or early 2011, and will include the payment of a EUR1.7 billion special dividend to IPR's existing shareholders.

The review for downgrade reflects the impact of the transaction on the Group's business risk profile, which will incorporate a higher proportion of IPP development and operational assets, as well as the additional debt assumed as part of the transaction. While recognizing the good strategic fit of the combined businesses, and the potential for synergies, the planned transaction increases the risk, in Moody's view, that in the current challenging economic environment GDF SUEZ's credit profile remains weaker for longer than earlier expected than Moody's guidance for the rating, whose outlook was changed to negative in May.

The rating review will evaluate the impact of the transaction on the business risk profile of GDF SUEZ, the extent and timing of potential synergies, as well as the extent to which increased borrowings might be mitigated by offsetting measures including, potentially, asset disposals. It will also consider the Group's plans for managing and potentially refinancing IPR's existing borrowings, and the implications these might have for structural subordination. Moody's adds that any potential downgrade is likely to be limited to one notch.

On the basis of its 35.9% ownership by the French Government, GDF SUEZ SA is considered a Government Related Issuer under Moody's Methodology. Given Moody's assumptions of strong support and moderate dependence, a one notch weakening of GDF SUEZ's baseline credit assessment (BCA) of 5/A1 would lead to a one notch reduction of the assigned rating.

The review for downgrade of Electrabel follows that of its 100% parent GDF SUEZ, and reflects that the A2 rating incorporates a notch of uplift because of its strategic importance to the larger Group. It also reflects that the incorporation of IPR's assets and debt are likely to impact its business and financial risk profiles. The review for downgrade of GDF SUEZ CC follows that of GDF SUEZ and Electrabel. Moody's adds that since the rating of GDF SUEZ CC is based primarily on the implied support from GDF SUEZ through Electrabel as intermediate holding company, it is likely to follow the ratings of GDF SUEZ, while remaining effectively constrained by the rating of Electrabel.

The following ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade:

- GDF SUEZ SA: Aa3 senior unsecured issuer and debt ratings; A1 subordinated debt rating.

- GIE Suez Alliance: Aa3 senior unsecured issuer and debt ratings.

- Suez Finance SA: Aa3 guaranteed senior unsecured debt rating.

- Belgelec Finance SA: Aa3 guaranteed senior unsecured debt rating.

- Electrabel SA: Aa3 guaranteed senior unsecured debt rating; A2 senior unsecured issuer rating.

- GDF SUEZ CC: A2 senior unsecured issuer rating.

The following rating was assigned and placed on review for possible downgrade:

- Electrabel SA: Prime-1 short-term debt rating assigned to treasury note programme.

The following rating was assigned:

- Electrabel SA: Prime-1 guaranteed short-term debt rating.

The following ratings were affirmed:

- GDF SUEZ SA: Prime-1 short-term debt rating.

- GIE Suez Alliance: Prime-1 short-term issuer rating.

The previous rating actions on GDF SUEZ, Electrabel and GDF SUEZ CC were implemented in May 2010, when the rating outlooks were changed to negative.

The principal methodologies used in rating these entities were The Application of Joint Default Analysis to Government Related Issuers, published in April 2005, and Moody's rating methodology for Unregulated Utilities and Power Companies published in August 2009 and available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Headquartered in Paris, GDF SUEZ SA is one of the world's leading energy providers. It reported group turnover of EUR42.3 billion and EBITDA of EUR8.2 billion in the first half of 2010.

London
Monica Merli
MD - Infrastructure Finance
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Niel Bisset
Senior Vice President
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom

Moody's places GDF SUEZ's Aa3 ratings on review for downgrade
No Related Data.
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