Veolia CEO confirms weighing future of Sade unit

PARIS Thu Feb 6, 2014 4:56am EST

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PARIS Feb 6 (Reuters) - French water and waste company Veolia Environnement has no plans to sell its Sade water networks engineering unit "for now" but is studying whether it makes sense to keep it within the group, Chief Executive Antoine Frerot said.

Sade, which builds and maintains drinking water and waste water networks and related installations, has 9,000 staff in Europe and annual revenue of 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion). French media reported last year that Veolia planned a sale.

"The synergies between Veolia and Sade have significantly reduced", Frerot said at a meeting with analysts and media on Thursday.

"We are currently assessing whether it is now better for Sade to remain part of Veolia or if it's the opposite, but no decision has been taken," the CEO said.

Veolia, the world's largest private supplier of drinking water, has been hit by Europe's weak economy and cash-strapped local governments in France, and is cutting costs and restructuring as it unwinds a decade of geographic expansion and acquisitions. ($1 = 0.7390 euros) (Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet; Writing by James Regan; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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