October 3, 2022
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UK’s competition watchdog orders Veolia to sell parts of UK business

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A logo on the windows of the Veolia Environnement headquarters in Paris, France, February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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LONDON, Aug 25 (Reuters) – The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has ordered the unwinding of the merger of waste management firms Veolia and Suez in the UK, citing competition concerns.

The CMA said on Thursday that Veolia must sell three parts of the merged business because of “substantial competition problems”, in a decision it said will “protect councils and businesses from likely higher prices and lower-quality services.”

Suez’s UK waste management services business, Suez’s UK industrial water operation business and Veolia’s European mobile water services business must all be sold to buyers approved by the CMA, it said.

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“We will now work with Veolia to ensure that appropriate buyers are found so that business, councils – and ultimately taxpayers – will not lose out,” Stuart McIntosh, chair of the CMA inquiry group, said.

Veolia generated around 2 billion pounds ($2.37 billion), 10% of its global revenue, in the UK in 2020, while Suez generated one billion pounds in the UK, the CMA said.

European Union and Australian competition authorities have also required “major divestments”, the CMA said.

Veolia and Suez’s 13 billion euro ($13 billion) tie-up won approval from the European Union in December last year, after a months-long legal dispute, and the deal closed in January. read more

In June, Veolia (VIE.PA) said it was planning to sell off Suez’s UK waste business after the competition watchdog raised objections.

Global players in waste and water management, Veolia and Suez generated approximately 2 billion pounds and 1 billion pounds in the UK respectively in 2020- roughly 10% and 7% of their annual global revenues, the CMA said.

($1 = 1.0001 euros)

($1 = 0.8440 pounds)

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Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Sinead Cruise

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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