There has been a new twist in the ongoing drama around Veolia's attempt to take over its environmental services competitor Suez. The private investment company Ardian has notified Engie of its interest in the acquisition of a 29.9 per cent stake in Suez held by the utility company.
The investment company wishes to form a consortium of primarily French private and public institutional investors which will launch a friendly public offer for the Suez shares, according to a press release issued today. Ardian says its expression of interest has the support of Suez's board of directors as well as of the director representing Suez's employees.
On Wednesday night, Engie announced that its board was satisfied in principle with an offer made for a 29.9 per cent stake in Suez by the company's rival Veolia, but had asked that the deadline for that offer be extended. Veolia wants to carry out a full takeover of its competitor on the environmental services market. Following the acquisition of Engie's stake in Suez, it plans to make a friendly offer for Suez's remaining shares.
Suez confirmed in a separate press release today that the board of directors and employee shareholders support Ardian's expression of interest. According to Suez, Ardian's acquisition of Engie's 29.9 per cent stake will be immediately followed by a "cash offer to all Suez shareholders on equal terms".
Suez said it took note of yesterday's press releases from Engie and Veolia and "particularly the details of Veolia's offer extension through to 5 October". Suez would continue to work actively with the "spirit of open dialogue", called for by the French Minister for Economic Affairs, the group said.