In May 2009, EDF announced its intention to acquire Centrica's 51% shareholding in SPE. Operating under the Luminus brand, SPE is the second largest electricity operator in Belgium after Electrabel (part of the GDF Suez group). EDF itself is the third largest electricity operator in Belgium. The proposed acquisition was notified to the European Commission on 23 September 2009.
On 14 October 2009, the College of Competition Prosecutors had requested the European Commission for a referral of the case since several Belgian electricity markets could be affected by the proposed acquisition. In particular, the Prosecutors feared that the acquisition would create or strengthen a collective dominant position of the two main electricity producers in Belgium, Electrabel and SPE, due to the fact that, following the transaction, Electrabel and SPE, through their respective parents GDF Suez and EDF, would both have the French state as their reference shareholder.
The Commission however decided not to refer the case to the Belgian Competition Authority and announced on 12 November 2009 its decision to authorise the acquisition, subject to conditions such as EDF's divestment of one of two sites on which it was planning to develop new generation capacity.