Exclusive: Schwarz set to win EU antitrust okay for Suez asset buy - sources

FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted in front of the new logo of French waste and water company Suez Environnement during a presentation in Paris, March 12, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - French waste and water management company Suez is set to get a green light from the European Union to sell its recycling business in four EU countries to Lidl-owner Schwarz, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The deal comes as Suez battles a hostile takeover bid from rival Veolia, which has criticised the sale of assets it considers strategically important.

Suez announced in September the sale of its Recycling & Recovery operations in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland to Schwarz as part of its 2030 strategic plan.

The deal does not include Suez’s plastic recycling and hazardous waste treatment activities.

The EU competition enforcer, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by April 14, declined to comment. Suez and Schwarz, which also owns German retail chain Kaufland, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Schwarz, whose PreZero environmental division is making the acquisition, last month offered to sell assets to address the European Commission’s competition concerns, another source had told Reuters, declining to provide details.

Earlier this month, Suez clinched a deal to sell its Australian recycling and recovery business to Australia’s Cleanaway Waste Management, which also drew criticism from Veolia.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris and Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf. Editing by Mark Potter