French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in an interview published Friday that decisions on the future of state-owned Gaz de France -- including whether to go ahead with its merger with Suez -- will be made "in the coming weeks."
A tie-up between the gas giant and French-Belgian utility company Suez is "pertinent," Fillon was quoted by Le Figaro as saying, but he added that it was necessary to examine alternative options.
These could include a merger with utility Electricite de France or with other gas producers, notably Algerian ones, Fillon said.
Fillon's predecessor, Dominique de Villepin, proposed the GDF-Suez merger last year to fend off a bid for Suez from Italy's Enel. But the tie-up has faced a series of legal problems and political opposition.
A court ruling in November postponed any decision on the merger until after July 1, when European energy markets open fully to competition.