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Suez considers selling Agbar or United Water to reduce its debt

  • Suez considers selling Agbar or United Water to reduce its debt

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On October 2nd Suez will present a new strategic plan to define its roadmap for the next four years. According to French media BFM Business, last Wednesday the Board of Directors decided to approve the new direction for the company, including a clear step towards industrial activities, while municipal clients stay on the back burner. 

But the big announcement, according to BFM, will be an unprecedented wave of asset sales, encouraged by activist fund Amber, which holds a 1.9% stake in Suez. Last July Amber sent a letter to the members of the Board of Directors of Suez outlining its recommendations, including reducing the size of its board and reviewing its portfolio of assets.

United States or Spain

In order to reduce its debt, Suez is considering two options for sale: U.S. company United Water and Spanish company Agbar. The sale of the first one is more likely, since it has the support of Gérard Mestrallet, Honorary Chairman of Suez, according to the French media. In the case of Agbar, although Amber recommends it be sold, it is considered a difficult decision, since it was former CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade's great  acquisition.

Finally, BFM Business points out that Amber would have the implicit support of Engie, Suez's largest shareholder, who would be interested in buying 100% of the shares of the environmental group, or else, sell its 32% stake.

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