Veolia Environnement S.A - Suez S.A.

Acquirer(s)

  • Veolia Environnement S.A

Target(s)

  • Suez S.A.

Summary

On 5 October 2020, Veolia Environnement S.A (Veolia) acquired a 29.9% interest in Suez S.A. (Suez). Veolia proposed to acquire the remaining shares in Suez that it did not already own.

In Australia, Veolia supplies water management, waste management and energy solutions. Suez's Australian operations include water management and technology, waste management and resource recovery services.

The ACCC commenced its public review in February 2021.

On 14 May 2021, Veolia advised the ACCC of substantial changes to the assets being acquired.

Veolia proposed to ultimately acquire Suez’s Australian waste business, with the exception of a non-putrescible landfill at Kemps Creek, a putrescible landfill at Lucas Heights, and five transfer stations capable of processing putrescible waste across Sydney.

Veolia also proposed to acquire Suez’s Water Technologies and Solutions (WTS) Australian business which supplies technologies, chemicals, mobile water services. It also provides water management services, mainly to industrial customers.

A consortium of investors known as ‘new Suez’ intended to acquire the Suez Water business, which included Suez's Australian water operations. Suez Water supplies water management services, mainly to large scale (mostly municipal) customers.

Veolia proposed three separate court enforceable undertakings offered pursuant to s.87B of the Competition and Consumer Act (Cth), which would commit Veolia to divest:

  • certain commercial and industrial waste assets in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, and medical waste assets in Adelaide, to REMONDIS.
  • Suez’s municipal water business (‘Suez Water’) to a consortium of investors.
  • its interest in Integrated Waste Services in Adelaide to First Sentier Investors (FSI).

On 21 December, the ACCC decided to not oppose Veolia’s proposed acquisition of Suez after accepting three court-enforceable divestiture undertakings provided by Veolia. Veolia’s earlier proposed undertaking relating to the divestment of Sydney waste assets to Cleanaway was ultimately not required by the ACCC, as the transaction between Cleanaway and Suez completed on 18 December 2021. Cleanaway’s proposed acquisition was not opposed by the ACCC on 9 December 2021.

Update

Given the transaction between Veolia and FSI closed prior to completion of the Proposed Acquisition, Veolia was not required to divest its interest in IWS in accordance with the IWS undertaking. 

Market definition

The ACCC will release a Public Competition Assessment in due course.

Competition analysis

The ACCC will release a Public Competition Assessment in due course.

Timeline

DateEvent
19/02/2021ACCC commenced informal review under the Informal Merger Review Process Guidelines.
10/03/2021Closing date for submissions.
14/04/2021ACCC paused its review while waiting for information about the revised transaction agreed by Veolia and Suez. Former proposed date for announcement of findings 13 May 2021 is delayed.
12/07/2021ACCC commenced informal review of the revised transaction.
08/09/2021Former provisional date for announcement of findings (16 September 2021) delayed to allow Veolia more time to provide additional information.
05/11/2021The ACCC commenced market consultation on three proposed s.87B undertaking. The ACCC’s timeline recommenced.
17/11/2021Closing date for submissions relating to the draft proposed divestment undertakings.
16/12/2021ACCC received further information from Veolia. Former proposed date for announcement of findings (16 December 2021) delayed to consider the new information.
21/12/2021ACCC announced it would not oppose the proposed acquisition, subject to three section 87B undertakings accepted by the ACCC.