In another bid to cut its debt and raise its status with the financial community, Vivendi Universal is to sell 15% of Vivendi Environnement.

The move should cut its stake to 40% and raise up to $1.9bn (Euros 2bn), but the company did not publish a timetable for the disposal saying only that it will be completed "when market conditions are appropriate and as soon as practicable".

The business, which operates water, sewage and transport activities, will also raise $1.4bn (Euros 1.5bn) of fresh cash through a share issue, allowing it to better survive as a standalone operation.

Vivendi is estimated to have debt of up to $28.4m (Euros 30bn). Other recent moves to reduce the debt overhand include the recently-announced sale of Italian pay-TV operator Telepiu (Screendaily, June 10) and the sale of Nordic pay-TV platform Canal Digital (Screendaily, June 17). It is also expected to sell set-top box and interactive software manufacturer Canal Plus Technologies (Screendaily, June 18).