After a long battle, Veolia and Suez sign a peace treaty

What could be better than a May Bridge to seal peace between the two French water giants? The boards of directors of Veolia and Suez ratified, Friday, May 14, the merger agreement putting an end to a terrible fratricidal struggle within French capitalism.

The two groups had concluded an armistice on April 11 at the Bristol Hotel, promising to sign a final peace treaty before May 14. The goal is achieved. At the same time, the two groups concluded on Friday a memorandum of understanding with the French infrastructure funds Meridiam and American GIP, associated with the Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) and the CNP, for the resumption of a “new Suez ”, which will remain independent.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also How Veolia and Suez reached the “Bristol agreement” with a view to their merger

This set of assets, bringing together water and waste activities in France, as well as entities in Italy, the Czech Republic, Africa and China, generates annual sales of 7 billion euros. , or around 40% of the Suez group’s 17 billion sales in 2020. “This places us among the top five global players”, underlines Philippe Varin, president of Suez. “There are a colossal number of opportunities in the world and no non-compete agreement with Veolia that could hamper our growth. “

Social guarantees

If the main lines had been sketched in April, a month was not too long to define the exact contours of this perimeter. What about, for example, contracts managed in certain countries switching to Veolia, such as Spain or Chile, by SES, the digital and environmental activity kept by Suez? “The cutting was done plant by plant, treatment plant by wastewater treatment plant”, notes a relative of the discussions. Gérard Mestrallet, the former president of Suez, whose intervention was decisive to obtain the armistice of Bristol, continued his mediation in order to facilitate these arbitrations.

Read the editorial: Veolia-Suez: a compromise of common sense

The consortium of investors has submitted an indicative offer on the new Suez exceeding 10 billion euros in enterprise value (including debt), according to several sources. Meridiam and GIP are preparing to each take 40% of this set, with CDC and CNP taking 20% ​​together. “Employee shareholding will start at 3% and may increase to 10% within seven years”, specifies Mr. Varin.

The group headed by Antoine Frérot was not involved in the work on the governance of its competitor

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