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Sempra said to seek at least $500 million in Mexico offering

Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a U.S. gas distributor, plans to raise at least $500 million in an initial public offering of its Mexico business, two people with direct knowledge of the sale said.

The details of the IPO are still under discussion including the amount, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

Doug Kline, a San Diego-based spokesman for Sempra Energy, declined to comment on the value of the transaction.

The company's IPO would mark the first energy company offering in Latin America's second-biggest economy, where lawmakers are expected to consider legal overhauls to break Petroleos Mexicanos's monopoly on fuel delivery.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the heads of the nation's biggest political parties signed a pact on Dec. 2 calling for the passage of an energy bill that would open up activities including refining and fuel distribution to private investment.

Pemex, as the state oil producer is known, said last month it would partner with Sempra in a joint venture to build the first phase of a natural-gas pipeline in Northern Mexico. Sempra also won a contract in October with state power utility Comision Federal de Electricidad, or CFE, to build a gas pipeline and operate it for 25 years.

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