The Veolia group has sent a public offer proposal outlining its intention to file for the 70.1% of the capital of Suez which is not in its possession.
Waste management firm, Veolia, acquired a 29.9% stake in rival Suez last year and said it would file a voluntary takeover bid for the remaining Suez shares.
The formal proposal sets out elements of the industrial project, the social project and the financial conditions that Veolia will offer when the offer is actually submitted.
Veolia say the aim of this proposal is to establish the ‘reality’ of the constituent elements of the group’s plan to create a global champion of the ecological transformation.
This step was expected: it allows Suez shareholders in particular to become officially acquainted with all the terms of our proposed offer and to form an opinion on its industrial, social and financial meaning – Veolia
The group says it hopes that this new step will ‘enable all Suez shareholders to know the terms of Veolia’s offer proposal on which they will have to express themselves’.
Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia, said: ‘Today we are taking a new step, which brings us even closer to the completion of our project. This step was expected: it allows Suez shareholders in particular to become officially acquainted with all the terms of our proposed offer and to form an opinion on its industrial, social and financial meaning.’
In a briefing note, Veolia states: ‘We will launch a voluntary public tender offer at €18 per share on the rest of the Suez shares and intend to finalise the merger of the two groups as soon as the competition authorisations are obtained (ie, within 9 to 15 months). Veolia is currently unable to formally submit this offer, due to opposition from Suez’s current board of directors.
‘Our goal is to create an undisputed leader of the essential environmental services industry to meet the urgent, global challenges of pollution. Our clear strategy and long-term vision allow us to navigate current economic conditions and provide firm commitments to Suez employees.
‘Our offer is the best option for Suez and for its shareholders. Despite market rumours, no real alternatives have been presented to SUEZ shareholders over the past five months since we first announced our project.
‘Now is the time for the Suez board and management team to cease their constant refusal, act in the interest of all shareholders and allow them to have their say on our project.
‘If not, Suez shareholders must ask:
- Is the board acting for my benefit, or its own?
- Why are they blocking my right to decide on the offer?
- Can they offer a clear path to superior share performance?
- Is there a realistic, alternative offer?
- The Suez General Meeting must be brought forward for shareholders to have their say on the merger proposed by Veolia.’
The Board of Directors of Suez said that it acknowledges receipt of the letter.
‘The Board will examine the document received,’ it said. ‘The interests of the project for shareholders and other stakeholders, including employees and clients need to be assessed in the light of alternative projects with the potential to create significant shareholder value, within a rapid and controlled implementation schedule.
The interests of the project for shareholders and other stakeholders, including employees and clients need to be assessed – Suez
‘The Board will also be attentive to the coherence with the Suez 2030 strategic plan and the Group’s Purpose.
‘As stated by Veolia itself, a binding offer cannot be filed at the moment with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers: indeed, the operation proposed was organised and structured by Veolia in irregular terms; the operation is subject to legal procedures and suspensive judgments in court.’