Back in the day, NYSE members would carry their certificates in a box, with the lowest quality on top. Credit Agricole just sold from the bottom of the box.
The problem with selling quality and keeping the dogs is, you end up running a kennel rather than a bank or investment firm. Suez and Gaz with are two of the class plays in French utilities (along with Veolia [VE]) .
Here's the story, from MarketWatch:
Seeking to shore up its balance sheet, Credit Agricole (FR:004507: news, chart, profile) said it will sell the stake to institutional investors. The bank will place an initial amount exceeding 24.5 million shares, with an overallotment option covering the distribution of further shares.
...Meanwhile, defensive stocks such as Suez have had a good run recently. Suez shares rose roughly 19% in 2007, boosted by continued speculation of a tie-up with Gaz de France.
...Suez, meanwhile, will spin off its environment business, a major player in the North American water and waste market, in an initial public offering.
Thinking about these banks and their managers, I am pathétique; they are pathetic.