Antitrust divestment : Antitrust remedies in the UK: Veolia completes €2.3 billion sale of waste business to Suez

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French group Suez is buying back its former waste business in the UK market from rival Veolia. Suez is thus exercising its right of first refusal for the parts of the company that Veolia had to sell again due to a decision by the British Competition and Markets Authority CMA following the takeover of large parts of the former Suez group.

Back in August, Veolia had agreed with the Australian investment company Macquarie on the takeover of the activities for two billion pounds - equivalent to about 2.3 billion Euros. According to Veolia, this is equivalent to 16.9 times the EBITDA of the business last year. Suez had signalled an interest in buying back the operations after the deal was announced and had begun negotiations on financing.

Now Veolia announced the completion of the sale to Suez of 100% of the share capital of Suez Recycling and Recovery UK Group Holdings Ltd.. The divested entity includes the former waste activities of Suez in the United Kingdom.

According to Veolia the sale will bring the combined value of the antitrust divestments to around €3.4 billion. The company plans to use the proceeds from those antitrust-enforced divestments to reduce its debt and finance growth in high value-added markets and will significantly reduce the Group's debt by providing it with additional investment capacity.

Veolia had originally considered Suez's UK and also Australian waste management activities to be of strategic interest. However, competition concerns in both countries prevented a full takeover, with the group retaining part of Suez's waste management business in Australia. Veolia sold two of its competitor's sites and one of its own to Remondis, and sold a stake in Integrated Waste Services in Adelaide to First Sentier Investors.