French Engie believes Veolia’s bid for Suez’s stake is too low

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PARIS (Reuters) – French water and waste management company Veolia’s VIE.PA offer for Engie’s ENGIE.PAparticipation of his rival Suez SEVI.PA is too low, Engie’s chairman said on Friday, increasing pressure on the bidder.

Veolia last Sunday offered 2.9 billion euros (3.4 billion dollars), or 15.50 euros per share, for the 29.9% of Suez held by Engie, as a prelude to the launch of a takeover bid.

Suez has signaled uncertainties about the deal and said he would be keen for alternative offers to emerge, although the next step is for Engie, who is pushing back the price.

“It’s not where it should be,” Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, president of Engie, told BFM Business TV.

Clamadieu said some elements of Veolia’s offer were attractive, including the fact that it could be a quick fix. Engie is losing assets to refocus its most profitable activities.

But he added that Engie would also look at any other offers that come up.

Veolia argued that the Suez purchase would help create a French champion in the water industry and waste management that would be better placed to fend off emerging competition from its Chinese rivals.

He sought to anticipate possible antitrust problems by already agreeing to sell the French Suez water activities to the Meridiam infrastructure fund, for an undisclosed amount, if the takeover goes through.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Benjamin Mallet, Sarah White; Editing by Mark Potter

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