Suez: Veolia's proposal "no serious step forward"

Suez's CEO Bertrand Camus continues to firmly
reject Veolia's takeover bid
12.03.2021 − 

The new proposal made by Veolia for the take-over of Suez is no "serious step forward" for the company’s stakeholders. Rather, it raised a number of question, Suez said in an initial reaction while confirming that its board of directors would study the proposal. Veolia had proposed that if it were to fully take over its competitor Suez, it would sell on the group’s French activities as a whole to the infrastructure investment fund Meridiam, with Veolia retaining only Suez’s international operations.

Suez rejects Veolia’s take-over plans. The new proposal fails to provide a long-term perspective for Suez France in the company’s view, as it would be "cut off from growth and innovation of international developments". Furthermore, "the proposed '20 years' step backwards would not guarantee customers the competition of an international leader nor the credibility of solutions developed for a global market and meeting the challenges of the ecological transition", Suez said. Therefore, Veolia’s proposal only offered "deceptive social guarantees in a tough economic environment" to the group’s employees in France.

The proposal is not attractive for shareholders, either, according to Suez. "No valuation of Suez at a fair price is proposed. The offer price, unchanged since October, is unacceptable", the company said, referring to the €18 per share offered by Veolia. Suez also criticised that the conditions of the transaction with Meridiam remained "opaque". Since the start of its takeover bid in August 2020, Veolia has presented the investment fund as the designated buyer of Suez’s French water activities. Veolia would have to divest these assets in order to obtain competition clearance for the transaction.

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