France’s Le Maire: Veolia-Suez row is ‘useless’

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

September 14, 2020

PARIS (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday urged Veolia <VIE.PA> and rival Suez <SEVI.PA> to calm down and find a solution in the row over the control of waste and water management group Suez.

“Let’s not offer to the rest of the world the spectacle of a battle between two beautiful French industrial companies,” Le Maire told France 2 television.

“This conflict is useless and we must find a way that will allow both parties to benefit from this operation.”

“The role of the state is to make sure there is no useless war in French capitalism but the creation of value and jobs for all,” he said.

On Aug. 30 Veolia offered to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez from French gas and power utility Engie <ENGIE.PA> for 2.9 billion euros ($3.4 billion) and if successful, to then launch a full takeover bid.

The offer has been rejected by Suez, with its chairman saying in an interview published on Sunday that it represented an “industrial mirage” that would lead to job cuts in France.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Jason Neely)