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Veolia to Buy Thermal North America

Veolia Environnement said on Tuesday it would launch a rights share issue worth 2.6 billion euros ($3.47 billion) and announced the planned purchase of Thermal North America for an enterprise value of $788 million.

The capital increase with preferential subscription rights will be at a price of 49.70 euros per new share, the French utility group said in a statement. Veolia's existing shares closed trading on Monday at 58.67 euros.

Veolia, which has been on a buying spree since the middle of last year, said Boston-based Thermal North America Inc focuses on investments in district heatings and cooling systems and the acquisition would lift the market share of its Dalkia heating division to 10% in the region.

The rights issue will create about 52 million new shares, Veolia said, and will dilute earnings per share by around 1% in 2007.

The offer will be managed by Societe Generale Corporate and Investment banking, Lazard-Natixis and Morgan Stanley International