With board backing for the move, the biggest shareholders in Suezhave pledged support for its plans to raise €2.4 billion in order to finance an €11.2 billion take over bid for Belgian power company Electrabel.

Seven of the largest 10 Suez shareholders have agreed to subscribe their full share to the capital increase, an issue of 115 million new shares, which would dilute their holdings by 20%.

The news follows positive results for the first half for Suez which saw its income grow by €1.5 billion, well over 10%.

Suez said operating earnings rose 9% to €2.1 billion in the first half on sales up 6% at € 20.1 billion.

Suez plans to buy out the 49.9% of Electrabel it does not already own.