Veolia has leeway for multi-billion euro acquisition, CEO says

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A truck is seen at the depot of Westminster cleaning contractors Veolia in London© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A truck is seen at the depot of Westminster cleaning contractors Veolia in London

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (Reuters) – French utility Veolia (PA:) has the financial firepower to make a multi-billion euro acquisition, its chief executive said on Saturday.

The firm's biggest domestic rival, Suez (PA:), announced the $ 3.4 billion purchase of GE Water from General Electric (N:) in March.

Asked whether Veolia could spend as much on an acquisition, its boss Antoine Frerot told Reuters the size of the group's balance sheet “would allow it”.

Frerot, who earlier this year said he would favor organic growth for the business, laid out two conditions for any future large acquisition.

“It would need to create new large-size activities for the company and over a long period of at least 10 to 15 years,” Frerot said in an interview at a business conference in the southeastern city of Aix-en-Provence.

“If we found this, then obviously we'd have the means to do it,” he said, declining to elaborate on possible targets.

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