Suez and Canadian Fund Manager to Buy General Electric Unit

In Photo: French energy utility GDF Suez CEO Gerard Mestrallet (right) and Suez Environment CEO Jean Louis Chaussade pose in front of a screen reporting the first quotations of Suez Environnement, a branch of Suez, as it entered on the French stock market, on July 22, 2008, at the headsquarters of NYSE Euronext in Paris.

By Chad Bray

The French waste and water company Suez Environnement said recently that it had partnered with a Canadian pension fund manager to acquire General Electric’s water treatment technology business in an all-cash deal that valued the business at about $3.4 billion.

The industrial conglomerate put GE Water and Process Technologies up for sale in October after it agreed to merge its oil and gas division with a fellow services provider, Baker Hughes. That deal came together after Baker Hughes’ planned merger with another oil field services company, Halliburton, collapsed after the US Justice Department sued to block the combination.

Suez would acquire 70 percent of the water business, while the remaining 30 percent would be owned by the Canadian pension fund manager Caisse de Dépot et Placement du Québec, the companies said.

The transaction valued the business at €3.2 billion, or about $3.4 billion.

The deal would bolster Suez’s geographic reach, particularly in the United States and in emerging markets, the French company said.

“Clients will benefit from the combined knowledge, expertise, geographic footprint and leading edge products and services available,” Jean-Louis Chaussade, the Suez chief executive, said in a news release. “The transaction will also deliver strong value to our shareholders by enhancing Suez’s profitable growth profile.”

The GE business provides water treatment and process services to industrial clients and reported revenue of $2.1 billion last year, with about half of that in North America. It has operations in 130 countries and has more than 7,500 employees.

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2017 and is subject to regulatory approval.

After the deal, Suez expects to achieve €200 million in annual cost savings.

Suez, based in Paris, provides water treatment and waste services on five continents. It has more than 82,000 employees and reported revenue of €15.3 billion in 2016.


© 2017 New York Times News Service

Image Credits: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images