Suez chairman rejects 'mirage' of Veolia offer plan

A medical biologist, wearing protective suit and face mask, takes a blood sample for serological test on a garbage collector during a Covid-19 testing operation at Veolia waste collection site in Saint-Denis near Paris during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS: Veolia's offer to acquire a stake in fellow French waste and water management group Suez was based on an "industrial mirage" that would weaken Suez in France and overseas, according to Suez' chairman in an interview with French newspaper JDD.

Veolia offered on Aug. 30 to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez from French gas and power utility Engie for 2.9 billion euros ($3.4 billion), and, if successful, to then launch a full takeover bid to create a "world champion of ecological transformation."

Suez's board and management have since rejected the offer and said the company was considering alternatives.

In the interview with JDD, Suez Chairman Philippe Varin called Veolia's offer "very hostile" and said the plan to create a sole French sector leader would bring job losses in France and hurt efforts to win overseas tenders.

"If you scratch the surface a bit, under the veneer of a French global super-champion that is being held up to us, I see an industrial mirage," Varin said.

He said Veolia's proposal to sell on Suez's French water business to infrastructure fund Meridiam raised "serious questions," since Meridiam financed but did not operate projects.

Suez management was working on an alternative solution, Varin confirmed. He declined to give details but noted that the French government, which has a large stake in Engie, had been clear about the need for a French dimension to any plan.

French private equity firm Ardian told Reuters last week it was talking to both Suez and Veolia, while French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he would meet soon with Suez.

Suez discussed the future of Engie's stake in July with Engie Chairman Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, agreeing on the need for a consensus and to rediscuss the matter in early September, Varin told JDD.

Clamadieu has called Veoila's offer too low but also said Suez should hurry up if it wants to present an alternative plan. - Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Veolia , waste and water management , Suez , Engie


Did you find this article insightful?


100% readers found this article insightful

Next In Business News

China banking regulator says property market is biggest 'grey rhino'
PBOC says China must prevent fiscal deficit monetisation
LBS Group reports stronger sequential performance in 3Q
Ringgit ends easier against US dollar at 4.0730
Super normal profit for Comfort Gloves as 3Q earnings surge over 1,000%
Eversendai posts 3Q net loss of RM35.8m
Mah Sing Group on track to achieve RM1.1b target
Trump to add China's SMIC and CNOOC to defence blacklist
KLCI slumps over 40 points in regional sell-off
Hong Kong stocks drop, but post best month in nearly 2 years

Stories You'll Enjoy