Stricter Chinese monitoring of foreign mergers and acquisitions has derailed the planned sale of the Dutch waste management company Attero at the proverbial last minute. As a result, the company's owner, the private equity firm Waterland, has decided to scrap its plans for a sale, the Dutch daily "De Telegraaf" reported last week citing sources familiar with the sales process. Beijing Enterprises Holdings Limited (BEHL), the owner of Germany's EEW Energy from Waste GmbH, had been the last company in talks to acquire Attero.
According to "De Telegraaf", BEHL had been unable to obtain official approval from Chinese authorities for the takeover. Moreover, the Chinese company's offer was said to have been "surprisingly" lower than the minimum of €850m set by Waterland.
According to the newspaper report, the circle of potential suitors for Attero had included BEHL and two additional Chinese companies China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) and China Energy Conservation & Environmental Protection Group (CECEP) when the Beijing government instituted tighter controls on outbound direct investment (ODI). Following the policy change, CGGC and CECEP reportedly withdrew from the negotiations. BEHL had continued with negotiations until February, but had been unable to obtain the necessary approval from the Chinese authorities.