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Suez - Veolia: the Ardian investment fund takes the lead

2020-10-01T12:00:15.773Z

A new protagonist was invited this Thursday in the battle between the two water giants, Veolia and Suez, with Engie in



"Friendly".

For several days, the word has appeared regularly in the epic battle between the two world leaders in water: Veolia and Suez.

The Minister of the Economy wants a "friendly" outcome to the conflict.

Engie urges Veolia not to launch a takeover bid "which is not friendly".

The term is used in all sauces.

It is because the enmity between the protagonists, and in particular Antoine Frérot, the president of Veolia, and the Bertrand Camus - Philippe Varin, general manager and president of Suez, is strong.

In the meantime, a challenger has joined the debate, in the person of Dominique Senequier.

The boss of the Ardian investment fund, ex-Axa Private Equity, which manages more than 100 billion dollars

(Editor's note: a little over 85.024 billion euros)

of assets in Europe, North America and Asia, has expressed its "interest" for the repurchase of 29.9% of Suez shares held by Engie, which Veolia is coveting precisely to take control of Suez.

What reshuffle the cards.

Support from Suez employees and management

This new situation was made possible by the extension in extremis, Wednesday evening, of five additional days, until Monday, therefore, of the deadline imposed by Veolia.

Antoine Frérot maintained staunchly until then that the validity of this offer would end on September 30 at midnight, and that after that, he would withdraw “his marbles”.

A little earlier in the same day, he had previously issued an “improved proposal” including the repurchase of each security at 18 euros instead of 15.50 euros, for a total amount of 3.4 billion euros (against 2.9 billion euros previously).

Ardian's proposal is in any case very favorably received by the management, but also the employees of Suez.

Since the beginning of September, the latter have not ceased to express their concern about their future, if they find themselves in the bosom of Veolia.

The inter-union CFE-CGC, CFDT, CFTC, CGT and FO of Suez had denounced Wednesday an operation "without any transparency, confidential, even pre-orchestrated" on the part of Veolia.

“This offer

(Editor's note: Ardian)

ticks all the boxes, told AFP Franck Reinhold von Essen, secretary (CGT) of the European works council of Suez.

It's project against project, except that on the one hand with Ardian, we have a friendly offer, and on the other, with Veolia, a hostile offer that organizes the dismantling of Suez.

"

"This expression of interest is supported by the board of directors of Suez, and by the director representing the employees", confirms Ardian.

The stated objective of the investment fund is "to constitute a consortium of private and public institutional investors, predominantly French, to carry out this project and launch a friendly public offer".

“If an agreement is found between Suez and Veolia, Ardian will comply with good grace, nevertheless believes a source close to the matter.

There is no question for this fund of playing the rivalry with Veolia.

"A" friendly "(the neologism was used by Antoine Frérot) of facade which says nothing of the harshness of the battle which will continue to be played behind the scenes in the coming days.

Source: leparis

All business articles on 2020-10-01

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