The French group Veolia has filed a mandatory takeover bid for the shares of the public utility Lydec. Operating in the greater Casablanca region, the company is 51% owned by the French group Suez, of which Veolia now owns more than 86% of the shares.
The listing of Lydec’s shares has been suspended on the Casablanca stock exchange. This decision was taken at the request of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority (AMMC), which recently received a mandatory takeover bid for Lydec shares. This project is supported by the Veolia Environnement group, which now holds 40% of the voting rights on Lydec’s board of directors.
This increase in power follows the validation of the takeover bid successfully initiated in France by the Veolia group for the shares of Suez, in which it now holds more than 86%. Veolia’s proposed takeover bid for Lydec is backed by Sonate Bidco, a consortium of investors made up of Meridiam, Global Infrastructure Partners and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. It is this consortium that will own the new Suez, resulting from the takeover bid initiated in France.
The stakes of the takeover bid
The new Suez will take over Suez’s “water, recycling and recovery” activities in France, as well as international assets in Italy, Central Europe, Central Asia, India, China, Australia and Africa, notably in Morocco. According to Moroccan legislation on takeover bids, “the AMMC has 15 trading days to examine the admissibility of this project. This period is suspended by the requests for information and justifications required by the AMMC”, says the AMMC which indicates the admissibility of the takeover bid project launched by Veolia and Sonate Bidco on the shares of Lydec.
It is therefore a period of negotiation that begins within the board of directors of Lydec, also composed of a floating shareholding on the Casablanca stock exchange (16.86%), Royale Marocaine d’Assurance (RMA, 16.27%) and Fipar-Holding (Holding financière de participations et d’investissement, 15.99%), a Moroccan investment company, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et de gestion (CDG) du Maroc.
The company, which employs more than 3,300 people, manages the distribution of drinking water and electricity, the collection of wastewater and rainwater, and public lighting for more than 4 million people in the Greater Casablanca region, under a concession contract signed in 1997. Lydec posted a turnover of more than 7 billion dirhams in 2020, more than 671 million euros.
Jean Marie Takouleu