France's Suez asks court to order Veolia to drop its bid, sources say

PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - French water and waste management firm Suez has placed a request with the Nanterre judicial court for rival Veolia to remove its takeover bid, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

They said the court was due to hold a hearing on Feb. 16.

Suez declined to comment and Veolia had no immediate comment.

Veolia vowed last week to press ahead with its bid for smaller rival Suez despite new legal hurdles and a government warning over the increasingly hostile takeover battle.

The standoff between the two rivals, heirs to 19th century water companies that became global firms, has descended into tit-for-tat manoeuvres as Suez tries to fend off Veolia.

Veolia, which says merging would better equip the companies to face Chinese rivals, has rowed back on a pledge to only make a move with a green light from the Suez board.

Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Edmund Blair