Company News

UPDATE 1-Suez meets Veolia in last-ditch effort to halt takeover

(Adds contacts, details)

PARIS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - French utility Suez failed on Tuesday to convince Veolia to suspend its hostile bid in last-ditch effort to halt a takeover, following a meeting between executives of the firms Veolia said was requested by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Veolia is offering to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez from Engie for 15.5 euros a share, or 2.9 billion euros ($3.45 billion), as a prelude to bidding for the whole firm. This offer is valid till Sept. 30.

Suez said it would open a dialogue if Veolia “ensured equal treatment of its shareholders,” suspended its bid, and filed a public offer for the whole company.

“Faced with Veolia’s refusal to postpone the Sept. 30 deadline and to make an offer to all Suez shareholders, it was not possible to begin discussions,” Suez said in a statement.

Veolia responded that the meeting was meant to be confidential and that Suez had not put forward any proposals, apart from a request for a delay without giving any reasons.

It said the meeting was requested by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Veolia confirmed that it would file an improved offer to Engie on Wednesday.

The company said in an emailed statement that Chief Executive Antoine Frerot made Suez specific proposals demonstrating Veolia’s desire for a friendly approach. (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Richard Chang)