Brussels authorizes the merger of the two French water and waste giants Veolia and Suez

Brussels has given the green light. Lhe two French water and waste giants, Veolia and Suez, are authorized to merge, the European Commission announced Tuesday, December 14, which is watching over competition in the European Union. This decision paves the way for the conclusion of a takeover bid (takeover bid) by Veolia for Suez in the coming weeks, a 13 billion euro transaction sealed in the spring after months of battle between the two historic rivals.

This operation, which was notified in Brussels on October 22, aims to make Veolia “a world champion of ecological transformation”, strengthened in its capacity for innovation in the face of Chinese competition.

With the green light from Brussels, Veolia – which currently holds 29.9% of the capital of Suez and had launched a takeover bid at the end of July for the remaining 70.1% – has already obtained the approval of 15 authorities of the competition on the 18 file seizures. The group is still awaiting authorization from authorities in the United Kingdom, Chile and Australia, but only the decision of the European Commission was likely to block the takeover.

To obtain this green light, Veolia, world number one in its businesses, had to commit “to full respect” of several commitments which, according to the Commission, “entirely eliminate the competition concerns identified”. Among them: selling most of Suez’s activities in France. In detail, Veolia will notably have to sell “almost all” Suez’s activities in waste and municipal water management in France, “almost all” Veolia’s activities in mobile water services in the European Economic Area, “the great majority” Veolia’s activities in industrial water management in France and “a part” activities of the two companies in the treatment of hazardous waste, specified the European executive.

Veolia will also absorb a large part of Suez’s international activities: United States, Latin America, Spain, Australia, United Kingdom. It will see its workforce increase from 180,000 to 230,000 employees and its turnover from 26 to 37 billion euros.

Outside the scope of the merger, the new Suez group, reduced to 40% of the current group and refocused mainly on water and France, will have around 40,000 employees for nearly 7 billion euros in turnover. Held by a consortium made up of the French Meridiam and American funds GIP alongside the Caisse des Dépôts / CNP Assurances, it will be withdrawn from the Stock Exchange.

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