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France still trying to end Veolia, Suez dispute, says source

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Suez is seen on the top of a building in Rueil-Malmaison
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Suez is seen on the top of a building in Rueil-Malmaison

PARIS (Reuters) - The French state is still trying to end disagreements between utilities Veolia <VIE.PA> and Suez <SEVI.PA> days ahead of a deadline, a source close to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday.

Veolia last month offered to pay energy group Engie <ENGIE.PA> 2.9 billion euros (2.65 billion pounds) for a 29.9% stake in Suez, with a view to subsequently taking full control of its rival by buying up more shares, a move Suez views as hostile.

Veolia's offer remains valid until Sept. 30.

"There have been multiple conversations ... The goal remains to find a middle ground and to end the conflict, the source told Reuters.

The French state holds a 23.6% stake in Engie and has tried to ease tensions. Engie, which owns almost 32% of Suez, rejected Veolia's initial advance but has said it would consider a higher offer.

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Andrew Heavens)