France's waste and water groups Veolia and Suez approve merger deal

PARIS, May 14 (Reuters) - Suez said its board and Veolia’s had approved their merger deal, creating a French champion in waste and water management that hopes to take on global rivals emerging in China and profit from economic stimulus programmes.

“This deal is a giant leap for Veolia, the French school of ecological transformation and for the preservation of the environment,” Veolia CEO Antoine Frerot said in a statement released by Suez on Friday.

Veolia sealed a preliminary deal last month to buy most of Suez for nearly 13 billion euros ($15.75 billion) after months of wrangling between the two companies.

The agreement valued Suez at 20.50 euros per share, after Veolia, which already owns 29.9% of its smaller rival, lifted its offer price from 18 euros. (Reporting by Michel Rose and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Leslie Adler)