EU approves Suez and Veolia $14.7bn tie-up plan
Ryan Thompson in Brussels


Despite initial objections over antitrust concerns, European Union regulators have approved a $14.7 billion dollar tie-up between French waste companies Suez and Veolia. The deal could create a global giant in waste and environmental services.

EU antitrust regulators announced Tuesday that the companies will spin off Suez's French water and waste division, plus some internationally based assets in order to ease regulators' worries about anti-competitive practices. These sectors will eventually be organized into a new company called "New Suez."

"By this decision, the Commission ensures that this transaction will not adversely affect competition in the water and waste markets, two sectors that are key to the European Green Deal and the circular economy," said European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.



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The final agreement to work together was announced to shareholders in April, following months of bitter rhetoric, legal tussles, and accusations of bad faith between the two companies. 

In the end, a high valuation convinced leadership at Suez to be acquired by Veolia Environment. 

When the deal was first announced, French energy giant Engie said it would sell its stake in Suez to Veolia for $4bn but wanted guarantees that no employees would lose jobs. 

CGTN reported in October 2020 that the takeover was proving "controversial," as the French state, a major shareholder in Engie, attempted to block the stake sale.

The French finance minister eventually endorsed the deal after months of negotiations and the higher valuation, but initially denounced Suez and Veolia for the way they were approaching the tie-up.

"This type of affair can't be sealed within 24 hours, it won't be done within 24 hours and the state won't cede to this kind of pressure," Bruno Le Maire said in September 2020. 

"We need time to go from a process perceived as unfriendly to a friendly process."


Cover photo: CGTN composite of Suez logo (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo) and Veolia Environnement logo (Reuters/Benoit Tessier/File Photo)

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