The History of the ENGIE Group

The history of ENGIE begins in the first half of the 19th century at the height of the Industrial Revolution in France and Belgium. Since then, the Group has diversified in response to changes in society, including population growth, urbanization, higher standards of living and environmental protection to become a global energy industry leader.

+9 Images

The history of the ENGIE Group is one of merger between many of the biggest names in European industry over a period of more than 180 years; companies like Société Générale de Belgique, Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez, Société Lyonnaise des Eaux et de l’Éclairage, Gaz de France and International Power.

The origins of the Group in the first half of the 19th century were marked by the enormous expansion in transportation, with the rush to build canals, railroads and tramways. The period between 1946 and 1955 was dominated by the need for industrial unity in France, which in turn led to the nationalization of Gaz de France. The discovery of natural gas in 1951 led to nothing less than the transformation of the Group between 1956 and 1967 to become a natural gas transporter, supplier and trader. The 1980s marked the beginning of extensive internationalization of the Group's business interests, culminating in the merger between SUEZ and Gaz de France to create a global energy group.


Key dates in the history of ENGIE


  • 1834: Société du Canal de la Sambre à l’Oise, the first subsidiary of Société Générale de Belgique opens its office in Paris to bring coal from Charleroi to Paris.
  • 1858: Ferdinand de Lesseps founds the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez in Paris with plans to cut a 100-mile canal to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea.
  • 1880: Société Lyonnaise des Eaux et de l’Éclairage is formed in Paris.
  • 1946: The French state nationalizes the assets of private gas and power companies, creating Gaz de France and changing the name of Société Lyonnaise des Eaux et de l’Éclairage to Lyonnaise des Eaux.
  • 1965: The LNG carrier Jules Verne carries the first cargo of liquefied natural gas from RG area to the new gas terminal at LeHavre.
  • 1967: Compagnie de Suez becomes a shareholder in Lyonnaise des Eaux.
  • 1972: Gaz de France opens the Fos-sur-Mer LNG terminal on the Rhône delta.
  • 1980: The major international expansion of Gaz de France and Compagnie de Suez begins.
  • 1986: Compagnie de Suez becomes a shareholder in La Générale de Belgique as the Belgian group refocuses on its original core business of energy.
  • 1997: Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux emerges as the world leader in the provision of local services out of the merger between Compagnie de Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux.
  • 2001: International activities now contribute 15% of Gaz de France revenue. Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux changes its name to SUEZ.
  • 2004: SUEZ focuses on 5 core businesses: power, gas and energy, water and environmental services. Gaz de France is privatized to become a French limited liability company operating in energy sectors other than gas.
  • 2005: Gaz de France is floated on the stock market. International activities now contribute 30% of its revenue.
  • 2008 : GDF SUEZ is born out of the merger between SUEZ and Gaz de France. SUEZ Environnement is floated on the stock market.
  • 2009: Cofely-GDF SUEZ is created out of the merger of Elyo with Cofathec to become the world's largest provider of energy services.
  • 2011: GDF SUEZ acquires 70% of International Power to become the world's largest independent power generator.
  • 2013: GDF SUEZ ends its shareholder agreement with SUEZ Environnement to remain a leading shareholder in the global water and waste management group.
  • 2014: The GDF SUEZ Group employs more than 152,900 people worldwide with operations in 70 countries generating annual revenue of €74.7 billion. The Group continues implementation of its commitment to promote the energy transition worldwide.

We would like to know what you think about our content. Please, help us improve it by takin this survey.