Veolia considers the price of the Suez offer fair and does not rule out a hostile offer

FILE PHOTO: A Veolia logo can be seen at Veolia Household Waste Recycling headquarters in Lezennes, France, August 31, 2020. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) – The award that the French waste and water management company Veolia VIE.PA offers to Suez SEVI.PA actions is “fair,” according to the company’s senior executive, who did not rule out a hostile offer.

Veolia launched on Sunday a takeover bid on Suez at 15.50 euros per share, offering to buy 29.9% of the company’s capital from the electrician Engie. ENGIE.PA for 2.9 billion euros ($ 3.45 billion), in the first step of a full takeover.

The opening drew an unenthusiastic response from Suez, who signaled “great uncertainties” raised by the transaction, while Engie, who wants to sell assets, is resisting a higher price, people familiar with the matter said. .

Asked about BFM Business TV to know if Veolia could consider a hostile offer if Engie does not agree to sell its shares, Chairman and CEO Antoine Frerot said that “nothing can be excluded”.

“We studied the price we imposed on them. It’s a good price, ”said Frerot. When asked if this was Veolia’s final offer, Frerot simply reiterated that the price was right.

Veolia – already a global leader in the waste and management industry, although the sector is highly fragmented – argued that the deal would create a global champion who would be better positioned to face emerging competition from China. .

Frerot said he contacted Suez chief executive Bertrand Camus about the project in early August.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Geert De Clercq, Benjamin Mallet and Sarah White, editing by Louise Heavens

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