BRUSSELS (Reuters) -French waste and water management companies Veolia and Suez won EU antitrust approval on Tuesday for their 13 billion euro ($14.7 billion) tie-up to create a global group better able to compete against Chinese rivals.
The deal struck in April was marked by a bitter months-long dispute including legal action and a move by Suez to ring-fence its French water business from Veolia, though that was later abandoned after the companies reached an agreement.
Veolia said after the announcement that France’s financial watchdog AMF set a Jan. 7 deadline to close the transaction.
Reuters exclusively reported last week that the deal would receive EU approval.
The European Commission said an extensive package of asset sales addressed all its concerns about the deal.
“The Commission ensures that this transaction will not adversely affect competition in the water and waste markets, two sectors that are key to the European Green Deal and the circular economy,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Remedies proposed by the companies include hiving off Suez’s French water and waste activities and some international assets into a new entity called New Suez, shareholders of which are Meridiam and Global Infrastructure Partners, state-backed Caisse des Depots and CNP Assurances.
Veolia will also sell the bulk of its industrial water treatment assets in France and mobile water services businesses in Europe. Suez, meanwhile, will divest all its assets in industrial hazardous waste treatment.
Both companies will also sell part of their hazardous waste landfill activities.
($1 = 0.8843 euros)
(Reporting by Foo Yun CheeEditing by David Goodman and Sonya Hepinstall)