PARIS Feb 14 Shares in French waste and water
management group Veolia fell on Friday after a news
report that shareholder Dassault is seeking to oust Veolia's
Chief Executive Antoine Frerot and replace him with a state
According to French magazine Le Point, which did not name
its sources, several Veolia's board members met this week to
discuss how to unseat Frerot and replace him with David Azema,
current chief of the agency overlooking state investments in
Le Point said Azema is being pushed forward by French
industrial holding Dassault, Veolia's second-biggest shareholder
with about 6 percent of shares, and which has managed to rally
several board members to its case.
The French state is Veolia's largest shareholder with close
to 9 percent of shares. The Finance Ministry declined to
comment. Veolia, the world's largest private supplier of
drinking water, also declined to comment. Nobody at Dassault nor
Azema's office was immediately reachable for comment.
Frerot, whose mandate expires in April, was already in 2012
the target of a failed board coup led by former Veolia boss
Henri Proglio, currently the head of state-controlled utilities
Veolia is now in the midst of a restructuring involving
1,600 job cuts as it unwinds a decade of geographic expansion
Shares in Veolia were 1 percent lower at 0835 GMT, the
third-biggest loser in a flat CAC 40.
"All this noise is never a positive as Veolia is deeply
focused on its new strategic plan," a Paris-based trader said.
(Reporting by Natalie Huet; Additional reporting by
Jean-Baptiste Vey and Blaise Robinson; editing by Mark John)