Paris (AFP)

The CEO of Veolia Antoine Frérot, engaged in a hostile takeover bid for Suez, proposed Thursday to keep the Suez group in France intact by selling it in full to the French fund Meridiam, to keep only its international activities.

If the board of directors of Suez responded favorably, Suez "would remain unchanged in France with its water and waste scope of 5 billion euros in turnover and its more than 25,000 employees," said Veolia.

"I propose to preserve the activities of Suez in France within the same group", which would be sold to Meridiam and thus become a "competitor of Veolia", said Antoine Frérot, evoking "a major opening proposal to pacify " the situation.

"It is high time to come to your senses. Veolia wants to reach an agreement with the management of Suez which would allow employees, customers and shareholders to be released from the uncertainty," added the CEO, adding that he had heard the concerns elected officials and staff representatives of Suez.

This is to "keep Suez France intact: the water and waste activities will remain together in a single company, called Suez and in which Meridiam will invest", with the "guarantee for at least four years of 100% of jobs and social benefits "he said again.

According to him, "nothing would change for the employees of Suez in France", who would benefit "with a stable and long-term shareholder base, a serene future and a promise of development".

Until now, Veolia planned to sell Meridiam the only Water France business, which competition rules would have prohibited it from keeping.

The management of Suez for its part is opposed to the takeover bid, which it believes is synonymous with the dismantling of the group.

© 2021 AFP