By Giulia Petroni 
 

Veolia Environnement SA said late Monday that it has acquired a 29.9% stake in Suez SA from Engie SA at a price of 18 euros ($21.16) a share, paving the way for a takeover of the water-and-waste management rival.

The French company said it would guarantee job security for all of Suez's employees in France and that infrastructure fund Meridiam would acquire Suez's French water-activities arm in order to preserve competition.

Veolia reiterated its intention for a full takeover, saying it aims to file a voluntary public takeover bid for the remaining Suez share capital.

The offer price will match the price of EUR18 a share it offered to Engie, subject to adjustments, in a deal that would value Suez at EUR11.31 billion.

"This offer will not be launched without first having obtained a favorable opinion from the board of directors of Suez, with which Veolia wishes to resume discussions as of tomorrow [Tuesday]," said Veolia's Chief Executive Antoine Frerot.

The filing is expected to take place at the latest when Veolia obtains the necessary regulatory approvals, in particular in competition matters, within 12 to 18 months. The company, however, said it could file the offer at any time before the authorizations.

"Suez takes note of the purchase by Veolia of 29.9% of its capital in a hostile manner and under unprecedented and irregular conditions," the company said on Tuesday. "The group...will use all the means at its disposal to protect the interests of its employees, its customers and all its stakeholders, in particular to ensure equal and fair treatment of all its shareholders and avoid a creeping takeover or de facto control."

 

Write to Giulia Petroni at giulia.petroni@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 06, 2020 02:28 ET (06:28 GMT)

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