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Veolia's holding reaches 86.22 per cent of Suez shares at the end of friendly offer period

12 Jan 2022 − 

At the closing of the takeover, Veolia will sell on large parts of Suez’s operations in France.

The cash tender offer extended by the French environmental group Veolia for shares of its competitor Suez expired on 7 January. Citing the results published by the French financial markets authority AMF, Veolia says that following the offer, it will own 86.22 per cent of the share capital and voting rights of Suez. The group announced on Monday that it had requested that the offer be reopened for a period expected to run from January 12 to 27 January. “This reopening will allow shareholders who have not tendered their shares to do so under unchanged conditions,” Veolia commented.

The group has offered Suez shareholders a price of €20.50 per share, minus the dividend of €0.65 paid by Suez in early July 2021. This corresponds to a total price of around €8.75bn for the 70.1 per cent of Suez shares not owned by Veolia before the bid was opened. Veolia had previously acquired 29.9 per cent of Suez’s shares from Engie in October of 2020. The French utility was the company’s then main shareholder.

Veolia also confirmed its intention to proceed with a squeeze-out of Suez’s remaining minorityy shareholders and to subsequently delist Suez from the stock exchange. The condition for this is that the shares not tendered at the end of the reopened offer period do not amount to more than 10 per cent of the capital and voting rights of Suez.

At the closing of the takeover, Veolia will sell on large parts of Suez’s operations in France and its water activities in several international markets to an investor consortium. The takeover of the “New Suez” was cleared in early January.

The Suez activities to be retained by Veolia will raise the group’s annual turnover by around €10bn to €37bn. Veolia now expects the transaction to be completed in the second half of February.

Estelle Brachlianoff to become Veolia CEO

On Monday, Veolia announced a change in its governance “to support the birth of the global champion of ecological transformation”. As of 1 July 2022, the group’s functions of president and CEO are to be separated. Antoine Frérot wishes to step down as CEO when his current term of office expires this year. However, the directors will propose that Mr Frérot stay on as chairman of the board of directors. Veolia’s current COO, Estelle Brachlianoff, is to succeed Mr Frérot as CEO of the enlarged group as of 1 July.

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