Suez boss says rival's bid 'irrational, destructive for France'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 07 2020 08:38 AM

PARIS - The head of French water and waste giant Suez said Sunday a bid by rival Veolia for an almost 30 percent stake was "irrational" and would be "destructive for France".

Veolia put in a bid last week for the 29.9 percent of the group held by French energy firm Engie ahead of a takeover bid.

But Suez director general Bertrand Camus blasted the idea as an "opportunist financial operation... which undervalues Suez assets".

The attempt was "an attempt at serious destabilisation of one of our country's leading companies", Camus said in an interview with Le Figaro daily. 

He added in a tweet that "SUEZ does not need to get married: we are already the world leader in #water distribution, with 145 (million) households supplied."

Suez said last week the approach was unsolicited and Camus insisted the company was "headed back to growth" despite conceding the coronavirus had hit its share price.

Veolia said last week it wants to build a "world champion in ecological transformation" in explaining its offer, worth an estimated 2.9 billion euros ($3.5 billion) as it eyed an "historic opportunity."

The offer would leave Engie with a holding of just over two percent in Suez that it could sell later when Veolia makes a planned public offer for the remaining shares.

To overcome potential competition issues, Veolia said it would sell Suez's French water, engineering and research activities to Meridiam, a French infrastructure management company.

© Agence France-Presse