Tuesday, June 9, 2009

French Groups in Travel And Transport Talks

Veolia & Keolis in talks with Transdev

FRANCE -  French utility group Veolia today announced it was seeking ways to combine its Veolia Transport arm with French transport group Transdev to create a new European leader in the travel sector.

 Veolia said in a statement on Tuesday it was "interested in possible changes in the share capital of Transdev". “Les Echos” business newspaper reported on Tuesday that Keolis, a transport group whose stock is principally owned by French railway operator SNCF, was also interested in a deal with Transdev.

 Transdev is 70 percent owned by French state bank Caisse des Depots (CDC). Veolia said its aim would be to form a new "global leader in mass passenger transit" with Transdev, with Veolia acting as the industrial operator alongside CDC. Transdev last reported sales of 2.3 billion euros ($3.2 billion).

 Veolia said, if the talks were successful,it would aim to float the new group resulting from a deal between themselves and Transdev on the stock market assuming favourable conditions. Veolia shares were up 3.4 percent in early trade, outperforming a 1.1 percent rise in France's benchmark CAC-40 index.Keolis officials were not available for comment at this stage.