French Finance Minister slams Veolia's move to bypass Suez board with new offer

PARIS, Feb 8 (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday slammed utility Veolia’s latest move to bypass the board of rival Suez with a new takeover offer for Suez, describing it as an “unfriendly” manoeuvre.

Le Maire also told Europe 1 radio that he would ask the French AMF financial market regulator to look into the matter, and reiterated that any Veolia/Suez deal could only work if done on the basis of friendly talks between the two companies.

Veolia said on Sunday it was launching an offer for all of Suez, valuing the group at 11.3 billion euros ($13.60 billion), after dropping efforts to win the backing of the waste and water management company’s board. Suez has been resisting takeover moves from Veolia, its long-standing competitor, which is now its biggest shareholder with a 29.9% stake.

$1 = 0.8310 euros Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne