VEOLIA
EU Commission approves takeover of Suez, subject to conditions / Plastics recycling not a key point of contention
Suez merger just around the corner: Veolia CEO Antoine Frérot (Photo: Veolia)
The European Commission has given the green light to French waste management group Veolia (Paris; www.veolia.com) to acquire domestic competitor Suez (Paris; www.suez.com). “The very comprehensive commitments put forward by Veolia have allowed the commission to approve this merger of two historic French players in the water and waste sectors,” said Margrethe Vestager, commission vice-president in charge of competition. Only if Veolia respects these commitments can it be ensured that the acquisition does not negatively affect competition in the water and waste markets, which are crucial for the Green Deal and a circular economy in Europe.

According to a company statement, for Veolia this means the deal is in its final stages. The French competition authority has set 7 January 2022 as the closing date for the acquisition, the company said.

According to the conditions, both groups must divest individual parts of their business, for example in the area of landfill of hazardous waste. Additionally, Veolia assured that Suez would divest almost all activities in waste collection and recycling and in municipal water management in France. In return, Veolia will sell almost all mobile water services in the European Economic Area (EEA). No explicit statements were made on possible conditions in the area of recovery and recycling of plastics waste – both companies are active worldwide in this area.

It is unclear whether, for example, the sale of the Swedish subsidiary, Veolia Recycling Solutions Nordic, to German waste services provider Remondis, announced in October 2021 (see Plasteurope.com of 01.11.2021), is connected with the conditions expected from Brussels. Meanwhile, in mid-April, EU competition regulators approved the divestment of parts of Suez’s recycling and recovery activities in Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland to German waste services provider PreZero. Previously, the EU Commission had ordered Suez to divest its Dutch packaging sorting business.

The two French groups had set the course for a merger in April 2021 after months of dispute (see Plasteurope.com of 29.04.2021). For Veolia it is already the second attempt to take over Suez. In 2012, a takeover failed due to antitrust concerns, among other things. The new group is expected to have a turnover of about EUR 37 bn and employ about 230,000 people.

The planned merger has already received 15 out of 18 approvals from the most important competition authorities worldwide, while the antitrust reviews in Australia, Chile and the UK are still ongoing.
23.12.2021 Plasteurope.com [249313-0]
Published on 23.12.2021
Veolia: EU-Kommission genehmigt Übernahme von Suez unter AuflagenGerman version of this article...

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