Investment firm CIAM wants Suez shareholders meeting in January: paper

PARIS (Reuters) - Suez SEVI.PA minority shareholder CIAM wants Suez to convene an extraordinary shareholders meeting in January, a move that would speed up the clearance of Veolia's VIE.PA bid for Suez, the head of CIAM told a French newspaper on Wednesday.

The demand comes after Veolia on Tuesday turned up the pressure on bid target Suez, saying it would take its offer direct to Suez shareholders if Suez continued to reject its overtures.

“We are prepared to ask the Nanterre commerce court to call an extraordinary shareholders meeting of Suez that could take place by end-January,” CIAM CEO Catherine Berjal told Le Figaro.

CIAM, which has a stake of less than 1% in Suez, argues that Suez’ board is violating shareholders’ rights by lodging its French water activities in a Dutch foundation as a defence against a takeover bid by sector peer Veolia.

CIAM must however gather other minority Suez shareholders in order to build up a block owning at least 5% of Suez capital in order to request a shareholders meeting.

“This should not be difficult as all shareholders are cross with the management,” Berjal said.

CIAM expects to be able to ask Suez this month for the shareholders meeting and if its request is denied or ignored Berjal said CIAM will go to court.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Kirsten Donovan