“The board of Suez would accept to receive Antoine Frérot, CEO of Veolia, if Veolia modified its offer,” said Suez Chairman Philippe Varin to French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Monday.
For the first time since the end of August, when the two French water and waste treatment giants met heads on when Veolia announced its intention to purchase 29.9% of Suez from Engie, Suez has said it is ready to discuss a takeover by Veolia if the takeover offer is raised and the job guarantees are strengthened.
Despite months of legal battles, Suez has been unable to prevent Veolia from filing its takeover bid worth 18 euros per share in February nor has it successfully found a white knight to acquire the remaining shares of the company to stop Veolia in its plan to create an environmental champion.
This weekend, CEO Antoine Frérot said the firm planned to present a revised offer during this week and accused Suez’s managers of duplicity while Suez called on Veolia for restraint on its communications.
In the interview with Le Figaro, Varin said that the Suez board would be open to negotiate only if a new offer was “well above” 18 euros and the extension of proposed job guarantees to four years, and to overseas workers.
The preconditions also include research and development activities and the possibility for Suez to present its response to the new offer directly to Veolia’s board.
Varin stated: “It is only on these conditions that we can enter a negotiating phase.”