French environmental services group Suez has confirmed it is interested in potentially acquiring its former waste management operations in the UK. "Suez will assess in detail the terms of the agreement with Macquarie, at the end of which it will decide to exercise or not its right of first refusal." The company added that it has a deadline of 30 business days from receipt of Veolia's notification to acquire the Suez Recycling & Recovery assets with terms and conditions "equivalent to the ones proposed by Macquarie".
Veolia had taken over the British waste management company via the acquisition of its parent group Suez. Veolia then sold part of its rival's assets to a consortium of financial investors. This "New Suez" includes Suez's waste and water business in its home market of France, which Veolia had to divest anyway due to competition concerns, and water operations in several international markets.
Veolia considered Suez's waste management activities in the UK a strategic asset and intended to integrate them with its own operations in the country. However, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns about the takeover. In June, Veolia said it was ready to sell the Suez R&R activities.
On Monday, Veolia announced an agreement with Macquarie Asset Management. The investor is to acquire Suez R&R for €2.4bn unless Suez exercises its right of first refusal, which was agreed last year in the run-up to the takeover.
Suez in its new configuration has already bought French hazardous waste management activities with an enterprise value of €690m from Veolia. The group had to divest them under commitments made to the European Commission's competition directorate-general to secure approval for the Suez take-over. "We are fortunate to have investors who want to invest," the daily newspaper Le Figaro quoted Sabrina Soussan, the new CEO of Suez, at that time.