PARIS Veolia Environnement (VIE.PA) agreed to reduce its stake in Transdev, ceding control of the joint venture to state-owned Caisse des Depots et Consignations in a first step toward the waste and water group's withdrawal from transport activities.
Veolia will trim its stake in the transport operator to 40 percent as CDC increases its holding to 60 percent in an 800 million-euro ($1.1 billion) capital increase through shareholder loan conversions, both companies said on Tuesday.
The deal will also include some targeted disposals and bank loan refinancing, they said.
The transactions will "increase Veolia Transdev's financial flexibility" and enable it to prioritize repayment of Veolia Environnement shareholder loans, the companies said in a statement.
Veolia would also buy Veolia Transdev's 66 percent stake in ferry company SNCM before the reorganization.
Veolia put its 50 percent stake in Veolia Transdev up for sale in December as part of a plan to shed 5 billion euros in assets to cut debt and costs.
Its shares, which have lost around 20 percent of their value in the last 6 months, were down 0.4 percent at 0733 GMT.
Veolia and Suez Environnement (SEVI.PA) said on Saturday they were not working on a merger, after Le Monde newspaper reported that talks had ended over antitrust concerns.
Both companies have reported lower sales in recent quarters amid declining volumes of industrial waste.
($1 = 0.7651 euros)
(Reporting by Elena Berton)