Engie seeks higher price for its stake in Suez

Recycling giant Veolia has recently made an offer to acquire a big part of Engie’s 31.7 percent stake in its competitor Suez. However, the parties do not agree on the takeover price.

The French utility Engie has rejected Veolia’s initial offer for a nearly 30 percent stake in rival Suez. Veolia had planned to pay around €3bn for the shares in the first stage of a two-step plan to acquire full ownership of Suez.

However, since the announcement of Veolia’s offer on 30 August, Engie had signaled that the figure proposed by Veolia was too low. According to Engie, its board of directors officially decided on Thursday that Veolia’s offer “cannot be accepted under its proposed terms”. That offer is valid until 30 September.

Instead, the board had given a mandate to its chairman Jean-Pierre Clamadieu and to the concern’s interim CEO Claire Waysand to conduct further negotiations with Veolia in order to seek improved terms. Engie was also keen to receive assurances from Veolia “with regards to the quality of the industrial project and the due care towards all stakeholders”

Veolia’s proposal would see it sell off the large part of Suez’s French water activities to the investment firm Meridiam. There have been concerns raised about resulting job losses and the long-term viability of those activities under the management of an investment firm.

Last Saturday, the trade unions representing Suez’s employees announced that demonstration against the takeover would be held on 22 September and the union Workers’ Force (FO), speaking for its members at Engie, Veolia, and Suez, expressed regret that Veolia’s acquisition plans had been announced so suddenly and without prior consultation of labor representatives.

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