Paris (AFP)

The Veolia group, which has launched a takeover offer for Suez, its competitor in the water and waste sector, has ordered the latter to "deactivate" its foundation under Dutch law, which aims to prevent the sale of assets de Suez on the water, calling for "dialogue" in a statement released Monday.

"Veolia invites (...) the leaders of Suez to deactivate the foundation now and to seize the opportunity of a reasonable discussion finally allowing the positive outcome of the situation", indicated Veolia, three days after a reminder to the order of its competitor by the Autorité des marchés financiers.

"The Board of Directors of Suez (...) reiterates its desire to arrive at a solution that respects all stakeholders. In this spirit, it recalls that on March 21 it put in place a device for deactivating the Foundation in the event of a negotiated solution ", reacted Monday evening in a press release, Philippe Varin, chairman of the board of directors of Suez.

Suez is trying to escape its rival Veolia, which has already acquired 29.9% of its shares from Engie and filed a hostile takeover bid to acquire the remainder, and which intends to set up a world champion in a growing market. more sustained and competitive.

"As soon as Suez has complied with the principles recalled by the AMF, Veolia calls on Suez to engage in dialogue in order to calm the situation and allow the ambitious industrial project carried by Veolia to be carried out, in a respectful constructive spirit. in the interests of the two companies, of healthy competition in France and more generally of the French economy ".

Veolia proposes to maintain a Suez France, of which it would transfer all national assets to the Méridiam fund.

But this solution does not satisfy the management of Suez, which seeks, with the support of the Franco-American consortium Ardian - GIP, to keep the "Water and Technology" activities internationally.

The AMF, policeman of the stock market, called Suez to order on Friday, accusing it of "undermining" several operating principles of the markets, including the obligation of transparency and loyalty in transactions.

In particular, she pointed the finger at Suez's decision to activate a foundation under Dutch law, created to oversee its Eau France assets and prevent their sale.

Suez has undertaken to deactivate this structure if Veolia raises its purchase offer to 22.50 euros per share (instead of 18 euros today) or transfers a significant portion of assets to the consortium of Ardian and GIP funds. , partners of Suez.

Too restrictive conditions, according to the AMF.

© 2021 AFP

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