The CEO of French utility Suez, Gerard Mestrallet, has said that the company plans to exercise its rights as a shareholder in Spain's Gas Natural, and is awaiting approval from Spanish energy regulator CNE to raise its stake in the company from 10% to 11.4%, Thomson Financial quotes Spanish newspaper El Mundo as saying.

Mr Mestrallet has been quoted by the Spanish newspaper as saying: We haven’t asked for a seat on Gas Natural’s board, but we want to exercise our shareholder rights.

Meanwhile, Gas Natural deputy chairman Antonio Brufau is reported to have said that Gas Natural and Repsol YPF may have to be careful in allowing Suez to operate in Spain in the wake of the GDF-Suez group merger.