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Reliant Energy Buys Dutch Company

March 10, 1999

HOUSTON (AP) _ Texas energy utility Reliant Energy Inc. entered the European market on Wednesday by announcing plans to buy one of the Netherlands’ largest power companies for $2.4 billion over seven years.

Reliant, formerly Houston Industries Inc., would acquire a 40 percent stake in NV Energieproduktiebedrijf UNA for $900 million, company officials said. Reliant would acquire the remaining 60 percent of the Dutch company by 2006.

Investors welcomed news of the deal, pushing Reliant’s shares up 12 1/2 cents to $27.06 1/4 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

``UNA is a leading power generator in the Netherlands and offers a unique entry point into Europe,″ said Steve Letbetter, president and chief operating officer of Reliant Energy.

The first stage of the deal, acquiring the 40 percent stake, is expected to be completed by June, Reliant spokeswoman Sandy Fruhman said. ``We’re going to use UNA as our investment vehicle throughout Europe,″ she said.

The transaction is subject to approval from Dutch regulators.

Houston-based Reliant Energy is a diversified international energy company with $11.5 billion in annual revenue and assets totaling more than $19 billion.

One of the country’s largest electric and natural-gas companies, with 4 million retail customers, Reliant hopes to position itself to compete in the country’s evolving electricity markets.

Most of Amsterdam-based UNA, which supplies nearly 20 percent of the Netherlands’ power, is own by municipal governments. It is the first electric company in that country to be privatized.

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