BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - French waste and water
management companies Veolia and Suez won EU
antitrust approval on Tuesday for their 13 billion euro ($14.7
billion) tie-up to create a global group better able to compete
against Chinese rivals.
The deal struck in April was marked by a bitter months-long
dispute including legal action and a move by Suez to ring-fence
its French water business from Veolia, though that was later
abandoned after the companies reached an agreement.
Veolia said after the announcement that France's financial
watchdog AMF set a Jan. 7 deadline to close the
Reuters exclusively reported last week that the deal would
receive EU approval.
The European Commission said an extensive package of asset
sales addressed all its concerns about the deal.
"The Commission ensures that this transaction will not
adversely affect competition in the water and waste markets, two
sectors that are key to the European Green Deal and the circular
economy," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in
Remedies proposed by the companies include hiving off Suez's
French water and waste activities and some international assets
into a new entity called New Suez, shareholders of which are
Meridiam and Global Infrastructure Partners, state-backed Caisse
des Depots and CNP Assurances.
Veolia will also sell the bulk of its industrial water
treatment assets in France and mobile water services businesses
in Europe. Suez, meanwhile, will divest all its assets in
industrial hazardous waste treatment.
Both companies will also sell part of their hazardous waste
($1 = 0.8843 euros)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee
Editing by David Goodman and Sonya Hepinstall)