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Carolina Power & Light Co. agreed to buy Florida Progress Corp. for cash and stock worth $5.3 billion, creating the ninth-largest electric utility in the US. The Raleigh, N.C. gas and electricity provider will pay shareholders of Florida Progress $54 for each share of common stock - 21 percent above the St. Petersburg-based utility's closing price Friday. The new holding company will have 2.5 million customers in three states and total revenues of about $6.7 billion, based on 1998 figures.

The fierce competition for market share in the water-treatment industry deepened as French conglomerate Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux offered $1 billion for full control of United Water Resources Inc. of Harrington Park, N.J. Suez Lyonnaise has owned one-third of the company since 1993. The move followed its purchases earlier this summer of Calgon Corp. of Pittsburgh for $425 million and Nalco Chemical Co. of Naperville, Ill., for $4.1 billion. Suez Lyonnaise is in a battle with its chief French rival, Vivendi, for global dominance.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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