France to look with 'fairness' at any offer for Engie's Suez stake: Le Maire

PARIS (Reuters) – The French state will look with “fairness” at waste and water management company Veolia’s (VIE.PA) offer for Engie’s (ENGIE.PA) stake in Suez (SEVI.PA) as well as at any other offer that could emerge, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.

“Veolia made a proposal, there may be others. They will all be reviewed with fairness,” Le Maire told Europe 1 radio.

It was paramount that jobs in France be preserved in any deal, that the future majority shareholder be French and that the valuation of the future deal be “satisfactory” for the French state, which has a stake in Engie, he said.

Veolia last Sunday offered 2.9 billion euros ($3.4 billion), or 15.50 euros per share, for Engie’s 29.9% stake in Suez as a prelude to launching a full takeover.

The blessing of the French government is key for any deal as the state holds a 23.6% in Engie.

Engie’s chairman said on Friday that Veolia’s bid was too low.

Asked if Veolia’s offer could be improved, Le Maire said: “Any offer can always be improved.”


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