This is the back-to-school economic and stock market battle.
Veolia, a water and waste treatment giant, aims to become a “
world super champion
” in its sector by capturing Suez, a subsidiary of Engie, for 2.9 billion euros.
Read also: Suez engaged in a race against time
The CEO of Veolia assures us: the project will benefit customers, employees, the planet and the country.
Invited by BFM Business this morning, Antoine Frérot was once again convinced of the success of his offer, despite strong reservations from Suez.
On Monday, the latter's board of directors rejected the proposed 29.9% takeover bid - most of the 32% held by energy group Engie.
He also reaffirmed his confidence in Suez "
as an independent company
This project is the meaning of history today in the midst of an ecological emergency, at the time of the economic recovery plan.
We want to convince all Suez employees of the benefits of an alliance,
”insisted Antoine Frérot.
If Veolia succeeds in getting its hands on Suez, the alliance of the two Frenchmen would represent 5% of the world market.
We will be able to race ahead in the world with this size,
” explains the CEO.
However, if the initial 29% offer was not accepted by Suez, he claimed that Veolia would not rule out a potential takeover bid.
Veolia claims to have called Suez in early August
Sunday evening, Suez had published a press release, taking note of the announcement of
"its competitor Veolia"
and stressing that
"the approach of Veolia was not requested and was not the subject of any discussion with Suez"
However, Antoine Frérot assured this Wednesday morning to have contacted the general manager of Suez Bertrand Camus in early August to inform him of his intentions.
Bertrand had chosen to continue his journey alone
", specifies the CEO of Veolia.
Today, the latter publicly reiterates his invitation to the director of Suez to come and discuss the future “
inclusive and friendly
For its part, the Ministry of the Economy has been vigilant about a potential alliance.
As a reference shareholder of Engie, the State has expressed concern about the future of water treatment and distribution activities in France, in particular at the level of local authorities very concerned by the project.
Our project will be a winner for them
", insisted Antoine Frérot, ensuring the preservation of all jobs in local communities and competition.
I went to present my project to the government.
Jean Castex said he thought it was a great project,
Veolia promises to preserve jobs and the price of water
Veolia thinks in particular that it can now reassure the Competition Authority by announcing now that the Suez water branch in France will be sold to the Meridiam fund for several billion euros.
With Meridiam, we secured the resumption of water activities in France for Suez.
This company is ready to provide us with significant resources to guarantee that all jobs will be preserved in France in the water sector.
And she is ready to ensure that the price of water will not increase
Behind the scenes, professionals say that Engie is now waiting for Veolia to extend its check if it wants to get its hands on Suez.
What if Engie asks more of Veolia to sell its shares in Suez?
On this point, the president of Veolia reaffirmed that his offer was "
a good price
", validated by the financial markets which consider it attractive for Suez shareholders in this context of Covid-19.
And in the event that Suez tries to seek investors to retain its independence, Antoine Frérot affirms that "
everyone will be able to compare the benefits for all the stakeholders of the Veolia project with a potential other project