July 30, 2020 / 5:07 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Engie weighing spin-off, listing options for service units - sources

(Adds details on affected businesses)

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - French utility Engie is stepping up efforts to shed some of its services businesses, two sources close to the matter said, with one adding the group was leaning towards a listing rather than piecemeal sell-offs.

Engie, long in investors’ spotlight due to an unwieldy structure that groups together several units with few synergies between them, has flagged plans to slim down by exiting some markets and business, including in areas like energy services.

Executives at the gas and electricity supplier, which has yet to replace ousted Chief Executive Isabelle Kocher, are honing in on options for businesses that include building management services, the two sources said.

The group will touch on the matter when earnings are released on Friday, they added.

Engie declined to comment.

Options could include selling off the divisions one by one, or grouping them together and carving out a unit that would then be listed on the stock market, with the latter option gaining ground, one of the sources said.

“They want to create a services giant and list it. This scenario seems much more efficient financially,” the source said.

It was not immediately clear what the value of such a carve-out would be, or whether the project would be feasible at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has dampened prospects for some initial public offerings (IPOs).

Businesses that would likely be part of any carve-out include Endel, which specialises in industrial and nuclear plant maintenance, and Ineo Defense, which operates in the defence sector, the source said.

Gepsa, which operates in prison services, and Culturespaces, which manages historical monuments and museums, could also be affected, the source said.

Engie is due to pick a new CEO by September to succeed Kocher, who was ousted earlier this year following internal clashes over strategy and long-standing pressure on the share price. (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Jan Harvey and Mark Potter)

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