Brussels, 27 April 2010
Merger: Commission approves acquisition of Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona by Suez Environnement
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by Suez Environnement S.A. of France of sole control over Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A. (Agbar) of Spain, currently jointly controlled by Suez Environnement and Criteria Caixa Corp S.A. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Suez Environnement is the holding company of a group active worldwide in the provision of water and wastewater services. It is active in Spain in the market for water and wastewater services through its subsidiaries Degrémont and Ondeo.
Agbar is mainly active in the provision of water and wastewater services in Spain and in a number of Latin American countries.
The proposed transaction gives rise to a horizontally affected market in the operation and maintenance (O&M) of water and wastewater treatment facilities to municipalities in Spain. However, the Commission’s examination showed that the overlap between the parties' activities is moderate. Moreover, the increment in market shares triggered by the transaction is not significant. Finally, Suez Environnement has already had joint control over Agbar together with Criteria prior to the proposed transaction.
The Commission's investigation also confirmed that the merged entity would continue to face sufficient competition from several other players active in the market, as well as from international companies that have the same capabilities, financial resources or expertise as Suez Environnement. In addition, the O&M market for water and wastewater treatment facilities to municipalities in Spain is a bidding market, subject to procurement rules, with frequent public bids and numerous candidates.
The proposed transaction was notified to the Commission for regulatory clearance in the European Economic Area on 18 March 2010. More information on the case will be available at: