Antoine Frérot, 62, virtually seems relaxed when it comes time to rewind the movie from seven months of intense negotiations, generally muscular, which allowed him to get his palms on the overwhelming majority of the worldwide actions of his rival of at all times, Suez. As soon as once more, he particulars the formidable industrial venture that may give France, he’s satisfied, a world champion of ecological transition, operational in lower than three years.
You lastly discovered an settlement with Suez final Sunday. Your weekend, this week, should appear very calm to you?
As there was clearly no query of the negotiations being to the detriment of Veolia’s administration, we devoted our weekends and evenings to it, along with the work of the week. Furthermore, throughout these seven months, Veolia continued to function at full capability, recorded good progress within the first quarter and worn out the results of the disaster. However we’re solely mid-April and the operation won’t be definitively accomplished till October. We nonetheless have work for our weekends. A lot the higher as a result of, after we are passionate, we are able to see how a lot the objective exceeds every of our little folks.
What are the subsequent steps for the takeover bid?
We’re awaiting the inexperienced gentle from the competitors authorities, primarily in Europe. They need to give us a primary return in the direction of the top of June. It is extremely possible that we are going to then have the ability to settle for their requests for the reason that new Suez resolves all of the competitors issues in France, which was the principle level of consideration. This could then enable me to carry the situation precedent on the takeover bid, which ought to due to this fact be accomplished in early fall.
For the well-known first hundred days of the merger, what did you think about?
The pace of integration goes to be essential. Collectively, the managers of Suez and Veolia will mandate an exterior agency to conduct an unbiased evaluation so as to establish the longer term operations supervisor in every nation. It is going to designate one of the best for every place. These appointments have to be proportional to the dimensions of the Suez and Veolia entities in every nation. This mixture of groups will due to this fact be carried out with objectivity, integrity and pace.
We are going to present France with a benchmark industrial device in ecology in order that it doesn’t miss the boat
And throughout the government committee of the brand new Veolia?
We are going to begin there. Of the 13 to 14 members that it has, it will be pure that 4, 5, even six managers of Suez combine it.
Bertrand Camus, the managing director of Suez, will he be a part of it?
He’ll do what he desires. I very commonly and even publicly provided to hitch our magnificent venture. I believe he would not wish to and can due to this fact do one thing else.
Do you suppose you will have eliminated all doubts concerning the hostility that you simply had been attributed?
I’ve by no means been hostile, however at all times decided. As I did this week, notably internally at Veolia, I’ll proceed to current the settlement reached with Suez, to clarify the principle traces and the commercial logic. I may even proceed my conferences with French elected officers, Area by Area. Throughout this time, in fact, we may have already began engaged on its implementation.
How lengthy will it take for the combination to achieve success?
Two to 3 years, I believe. Will probably be absolutely operational when our clients, communities and producers, inform us that they understand a “earlier than” and “after” our operation, because of the options that we are going to provide them and that they may undertake. There, it is going to be received.
Received for whom?
What we construct is a gaggle after for the world after. Because of our 37 billion euros in turnover, we might be a game-changer in the case of the setting. We are going to present France with a benchmark industrial device in ecology in order that it doesn’t miss the boat, as has been the case in digital, for instance. It’s with this device that France will have the ability to shine and provide first to the French, then to the entire world, the options that we are going to use in twenty years to attain ecological transformation, and half of which even exist. not at the moment.
Immediately the unions wish to know the settlement. We have now nothing to cover and I’m very a lot in favor of it being communicated to them
Do you are feeling you paid the precise worth?
There isn’t a such factor as the precise worth. I provided an excellent worth, not extreme. Between the 18 euros that I had provided in September and the 20.50 at the moment, the distinction might be financed by the extra disposals that I agreed to make by not conserving sure Suez actions which initially me. This is the reason our financial equation has not been basically disrupted. This was confirmed by the ranking companies, and the Inventory Alternate, which welcomed the draft settlement.
If it was a query of worth from the beginning, might the media chaos, episodes in courtroom have been averted?
We will at all times keep away from difficulties, however the staff of Suez requested that I present ensures for employment and that’s what I did. They needed to maintain worldwide actions, and I accepted this demand. Immediately the unions wish to know the settlement. We have now nothing to cover and I’m very a lot in favor of it being communicated to them. That they wanted these seven months to digest this variation appears authentic to me. The troubles will step by step disappear: I remind you that the brand new Suez will stay quantity four or 5 on the earth. It won’t be a small enterprise. Will probably be six instances larger than its different largest French opponents, Paprec, Saur, Séché.
For seven months you performed the character of the villain, did you discover that unfair?
Sure, it was annoying to see a venture that was so structuring and helpful for all events described as unfriendly. I’ve by no means been hostile to Suez. I by no means needed to destroy a competitor, in any other case I’d by no means have accepted this deal. However I used to be satisfied that the commercial sense of this rapprochement would ultimately prevail, that purpose would prevail. This is the reason I used to be able to undergo all of the difficulties. I used to be decided to construct one thing that’s past us, for brand new generations.
Trying again, might you will have accomplished otherwise?
I attempted for seven months to persuade as many individuals as potential. What served me as a compass was exactly and uniquely the plain industrial which means of this rapprochement. This can be a historic alternative created by Engie’s determination to promote its stake in Suez. I at all times thought it will seem and ultimately overcome the reluctance. It’s the seek for influence, greater than finance, that justified this venture.
When will you have the ability to say that the Veolia you imagined is lastly constructed?
By no means has the ecological emergency been so sturdy. The populations of the world have by no means anticipated or hoped for concrete options for the setting. The general public authorities have by no means constructed such formidable insurance policies, particularly with the restoration plans. With the operation we’ve simply carried out, Veolia will have the ability to think about and generalize the options we might want to enhance air high quality, recycling of plastic or electrical batteries, carbon seize, and so on. feed billions of individuals, with much less water, much less power and fewer soil. Half of those options don’t exist at the moment. As Veolia invented them, lets say, Frérot was proper.