PARIS (Reuters) – The French state is still trying to end disagreements between utilities Veolia and Suez days ahead of a deadline, a source close to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday.
Veolia last month offered to pay energy group Engie 2.9 billion euros ($3.37 billion) for a 29.9% stake in Suez, with a view to subsequently taking full control of its rival by buying up more shares, a move Suez views as hostile.
Veolia’s offer remains valid until Sept. 30.
“There have been multiple conversations … The goal remains to find a middle ground and to end the conflict, the source told Reuters.
The French state holds a 23.6% stake in Engie and has tried to ease tensions. Engie, which owns almost 32% of Suez, rejected Veolia’s initial advance but has said it would consider a higher offer.
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Andrew Heavens)