Pinault Keeps Options Open for Suez Bid

French billionaire Francois Pinault on Tuesday declined to rule out a possible bid for utilities group Suez .

Asked by the AMF financial regulator to clarify his position, following newspaper reports about a possible bid, Pinault's Artemis firm said that it had taken no decision at the moment about a possible bid for the shares of Suez and added it was keeping all options open.

Suez shares rose 2 percent in early trade. At Friday's closing price the group was worth 50.9 billion euros ($67.12 billion).

French press reports had said that Pinault planned to break up Suez if his bid succeeded, selling its energy assets to Gaz de France and its environmental business to Veolia Environnement .

Suez and GDF's roughly 80 billion euro merger is hanging in the balance after a court decision that it cannot formally go ahead until the full liberalisation of European Union energy markets on July 1, 2007 -- after France's presidential election.