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ERIC PIERMONT / AFP
The Veolia group announced on Monday that it would give Engie its improved offer for the repurchase of Suez shares "no later than September 30".
"I'm going to improve it further, I'm working on it, this is not yet completely finished," Veolia CEO Antoine Frérot said on France 2.
Friday, the boss of the group announced that he would raise its price, after offering at the end of August 2.9 billion euros (15.50 euros per share) to Engie for its 29.9% stake in Suez.
A future “less hostile” offer
"I heard the concerns of Bruno Le Maire", the Minister of the Economy, declared Antoine Frérot Monday.
“The executive has warned about employment, sovereignty, maintaining competition so that communities always have as many choices, and so that the project is inclusive for all parties.
I try to answer, I answered and will answer these four points ”.
“I will deliver this offer before September 30.
It will be a financial improvement in addition to the improvement (on social commitments), to make the offer supposedly less "hostile" - while it is not, "he added.
The CEO reaffirmed that he is committed to maintaining "all jobs", within the future merged entity as within the activities of Suez that Veolia will have to sell to comply with competition law.
He assured in particular that he would choose the buyers based on the guarantees provided on employment.
“In these service professions, territorial, we cannot relocate: we will not collect the trash in Paris with the teams from Bordeaux.
Employees will be needed in the same quantity everywhere, ”he insisted, adding that for management positions, the Suez and Veolia teams would be“ mixed ”, under the control of“ an outside firm ”.
Create "a great world champion for ecological transformation"
Veolia gave Engie until Wednesday, September 30 to respond.
Engie, which sells its shares in Suez to refocus on its energy sector, was due to meet with its directors on Friday, but the board was postponed and a new date is scheduled for Wednesday.
Veolia's plan, which includes the sale of Suez's Water France activities to comply with anti-trust legislation, has however had a thorn in its side since Suez placed this branch last Wednesday under the hat of a foundation intended to make it non-transferable.
This choice is “stupid”, commented Antoine Frérot.
"But this does not hinder my project because we have found the means to circumvent this obstacle", he affirmed.
"It is a magnificent project, that of creating a great world champion for ecological transformation (…) Yes I think, I am sure that it is started well and that we will do it", he again said.
The presidents of the two groups specializing in water and waste treatment have been in a standoff for weeks.
“Discussions” between the Ministry of the Economy and the Suez and Veolia teams took place on Saturday, but separately.
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