Suez and Veolia agree £2 billion deal for Suez UK

Suez has signed an “irrevocable sale option” with Veolia worth £2 billion for the acquisition of Suez’s former waste activities in the United Kingdom. 

The UK branch of Suez has been separately owned by Veolia as a consequence of Veolia’s purchase of much of Suez earlier this year.

The deal, if approved, will see Veolia and Suez compete again in the UK waste market

Under the terms of the agreement, which remains subject to regulatory approvals, Suez recycling and recovery UK will now fall again under the largely French-owned Suez brand, which also includes French waste and water businesses divested when Veolia acquired much of Suez’s global assets.

The deal was agreed on 21 September after Suez last month confirmed that it will take up first refusal on the company. Veolia had selected Beauparc-owners Macquarie in a £2 billion deal to buy Suez’s UK recycling and Recovery assets but this arrangement does not now move forward (see letsrecycle.com story).

‘Unique position’

According to Suez, its now returning former UK waste arm is the third largest waste recycling and recovery company in the UK, with a “unique position in developing new waste treatment activities in line with recent national regulatory developments”.

Suez recycling and recovery UK has a portfolio of more than 25,000 industrial and municipal customers, employs around 6,000 people and generates turnover of more than £900 million, the statement said.

Sabrina Soussan, Suez CEO and chairman

The acquisition has been unanimously approved by shareholders and trade unions, Suez added.

Sabrina Soussan, chairman and CEO of Suez, stated: “The acquisition of Suez recycling and recovery UK will significantly bolster the strategy of Suez, strengthening our waste treatment activities and diversifying our global footprint.

“This acquisition highlights once again the trust our shareholders place in our company: our Group has the capital required for its development as well as the necessary resources to invest alongside its clients.”

CMA

The deal comes after Veolia was ordered by the Competitions and Markets Authority earlier this year to sell Suez UK to avoid a “substantial lessening of competition” in the UK market.

Veolia, which is a global waste management business, bought most of its French counterpart Suez in January this year after an agreement reached in 2021. This included Suez UK.

However, to help ensure that European competition authorities would approve the sale, in 2021 a ‘new Suez’ was formed to take on some parts of Suez which were not being bought by Veolia. This included water businesses across Europe, and French waste operations.

The ‘new Suez’ will now also own the UK waste arm of Suez. It means that Veolia and Suez will now compete again in the UK market if the deal is approved – both still remaining French-owned.

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