Belgian industrial holding company Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), owned by billionaire tycoon Albert Frere, on Monday began selling shares worth around one billion euros in French energy group GDF Suez.
"Bruxelles Lambert group launched the sale of 65 million shares in GDF Suez... which represents about 2.7 percent of the company's capital," a statement said.
At the close of the Paris bourse Monday GDF Suez shares held by the Belgian group were worth more than one billion euros ($1.3 billion).
"After the success of the selling operations and the issuing of exchangeable bonds over the last 15 months, GBL is actively pursuing the reorganisation and diversification strategy of its holdings," Frere said in the statement.
The operation is part of that strategy as it improves the net cash position of the group with a view to future profitable reinvestments, it added.
GBL on Wednesday reported a first-quarter net loss of 75 million euros, mainly because of the depreciation of GDF Suez shares.
GBL said it would continue to hold 2.4 percent of the Paris-based French multinational electric utility company.