By Olivia Bugault

 

-Suez's board has said that it still sees Veolia's approach for it as hostile

-Ardian said won't submit an offer for a stake in Suez in order to allow time for discussions

-Veolia said Sunday that it won't launch a hostile takeover bid for Suez

 

Suez SA's board of directors confirmed on Monday that it still considers Veolia Environnement SA's approach to be hostile, but agrees with private-equity firm Ardian's decision not to make an offer for a stake in the water and waste-management company.

Veolia said in late August that it intended to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez held by Engie SA, which would be a first step before taking full control of the company. Suez rejected the bid and has been in a dispute with rival utility company Veolia since then.

"In order to preserve the interest of all its shareholders and stakeholders, the board confirms that it will put all the means at its disposal to avoid a creeping takeover or de facto control," Suez said.

Suez's board reiterated its view on Veolia's approach after Veolia said Sunday that "it unconditionally commits not to file a hostile takeover bid following the sale of the shares held by Engie in Suez."

In Monday's statement, Suez criticized Engie's board for not taking into consideration and discussing an option other than Veolia's bid.

Last week, Engie's board welcomed Veolia's improved bid of 18 euros ($21.09) a share for a 29.9% stake in Suez held by the company. Veolia initially proposed a bid of EUR15.50 a share.

"In the current climate, the board agrees with Ardian's decision that it is not appropriate to make any offer to Engie," Suez said Monday.

French private-equity firm Ardian informed Engie of its interest in buying the stake in Suez last week but said Monday that it won't submit an offer for the moment.

"Following the expression of its interest, Ardian worked on an offer supported by Suez employees and its board, and requiring six weeks of due diligence," Ardian said Monday. "However, Ardian, faithful to its principles of non hostile negotiations, has decided not to submit an offer to allow time for ongoing discussions," it said.

 

Write to Olivia Bugault at olivia.bugault@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2020 10:14 ET (14:14 GMT)

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