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Last corner before final GDF-Suez fusion

Despite the vote of Gaz de France workers' council against the decision to merge GDF with Suez, both companies will soon meet to sign the final takeover accord and create one of the largest energy firms in the world.

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The planned takeover of French gas utility GDF by energy group Suez can now go ahead following a key meeting Monday of the GDF workers' council, a spokesman for the firm said.

The leadership of the council, in a purely consultative opinion, said it opposed the takeover. That assessment, either positive or negative, was an indispensable step in the deal, which has been under consideration for more than two years.

The executive boards at Gaz de France (GDF) and Suez are now expected to meet shortly to sign the takeover accord.

With an endorsement from the French financial market regulator, the AMF, the agreement would then be submitted to shareholders at the two companies at a special general assembly.

The plan to create a giant French energy group, which would be one of the biggest such utilities in the world by market capitalisation, has been dogged by controversy and delays.

Under the deal, Suez shareholders would end up with 55 percent of the new entity and GDF shareholders 45 percent. The state owns 79.80 percent of GDF now and would hold about 35 percent of the new group.

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