Is Veolia going to swallow Suez? After nearly six months of battle, events are accelerating. The world number one in water and waste has just announced that it is launching a takeover bid on the 70.1% of Suez capital which it still lacks. Seized by Suez, the commercial court ordered the suspension of the operation, but Veolia believes that its offer remains valid.
Eco guest of franceinfo, Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Suez, denounces the attitude of Veolia while calling for “dialogue“. The leader points, in particular, at Veolia,”a business ethics problem“, because the group filed its takeover bid while discussions with Suez were underway.
Philippe Varin nevertheless affirms that he wants to find an agreement. “We have examined [cette offre, ndlr], he explains, and our conviction, after looking at it in this situation, is that we have to come to a negotiated solution. We cannot accept that Veolia can dismantle Suez as it plans, and in a hostile manner“.
But on what basis could the two groups then negotiate? “Suez is in a robust situation“, replies Philippe Varin:”The results are good, we are in the process of developing technology on the membranes, on the detection of Covid. We have undertaken to reposition Suez in areas such as water or certain types of waste (…) From there, we are ready to discuss with Veolia on the terms of a merger, since we are on the move. It’s much easier to find possibilities“.
Since October, Suez has been talking with two investment funds, Ardian and GIP. Are they ready to invest in Suez when the situation is tense? “They are absolutely ready to finance an operation of this type, answers Philippe Varin, with one condition: they have the same values as us; they want a negotiated solution. If there is a negotiated solution, they will be ready… “