The European Commission approves Veolia's merger with Suez
Veolia and Suez are leaders in the water treatment and waste management sectors.
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Suez by Veolia. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by Veolia.
Veolia and Suez are leaders in the water treatment and waste management sectors. The two companies offer a wide range of services to municipal and industrial customers and compete in the following sectors, among others:
The water sector, in particular for the provision of services relating to the design and construction of water treatment system facilities, the operation and maintenance of these water treatment facilities, the supply of water treatment chemicals and the provision of mobile water solutions; and
The waste sector, specifically for the provision of services relating to the collection and treatment of non-hazardous, regulated (subject to specific regulations) and hazardous waste.
According to the Commission, the transaction would lead to significant horizontal overlaps in various markets in France and in the European Economic Area (EEA), mainly in the following markets: (i) municipal water management, (ii) industrial water management in France and mobile water services in the EEA, (iii) the collection and treatment of non-hazardous and regulated waste and (iv) the treatment of hazardous waste in France.
Such overlaps would risk eliminating the competitive pressure exerted by Suez and creating a market leader at European and national and/or local level, depending on the markets concerned. Customers would therefore have faced a reduced choice of service solutions, often limited to the merged entity, without having any real bargaining power.
The transaction also creates vertical and conglomerate links, which, however, do not raise competition concerns.
It is also noted that Veolia has offered a commitments package including comprising the below... in order to address the Commission's competition concerns.
- The divestment of almost all Suez's activities in the non-hazardous and regulated waste management markets and the municipal water market in France
- The divestment of almost all Veolia's activities in the mobile water services market in the EEA
- The divestment of the vast majority of Veolia's activities in the French segment of the industrial water management market and
- The divestment of part of Veolia's and Suez's hazardous waste landfill activities and all Suez's activities in the incineration and physico-chemical treatment of hazardous waste
These structural commitments eliminate entirely the competition concerns raised by the Commission with regard to Veolia's acquisition of Suez.
The Commission has therefore concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would not raise any competition concerns.