Meridiam head says has CNP backing for Suez French water business deal: Les Echos

PARIS (Reuters) - French investment firm Meridiam got the backing of life insurer CNP Assurances CNPP.PA to fund the acquisition of the water activities of Suez in France VIE.PA, its president, Thierry Deau, told French daily Les Echos in an interview on Tuesday.

Veolia offered on Aug. 30 to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez from French gas and power utility Engie for 2.9 billion euros ($3.44 billion), as a prelude to launching a full takeover bid.

Veolia and Suez are the two biggest water concession operators in France. Veolia has said that it had already worked on some antitrust issues and, as part of that, had identified an acquirer for Suez’ French water activities, Meridiam.

Deau told Les Echos that Meridiam would set up an investment vehicle dedicated to the acquisition of Suez’ water business in France.

“The main investor will certainly be CNP and in total French capital ... will represent 60% to 70%. The rest will be European, Deau said.

CNP Assurances declined to comment.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Dominique Vidalon; editing by Jonathan Oatis