Suez Close to Tabling Offer for Shanks; FRENCH GIANT TO CHECK BOOKS OF WASTE MANAGER

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Byline: ANDREW LEACH

FRENCH industrial giant Suez is set to join the auction for waste management and recycling firm Shanks, which put itself up for sale last week after rebuffing a 135p-a-share takeover approach from private equity firm Carlyle.

Suez owns the Sita waste business in the UK and is believed to be close to tabling an indicative offer that would let it examine the books of Shanks, which is also involved in power generation.

Although Shanks rejected Carlyle's approach and said it would consider only offers of 150p a share, the two sides have been talking and the private equity firm is expected to begin its own due diligence this week.

However, Carlyle has not been granted exclusivity, leaving the door open to other potential bidders such as French water and waste company Veolia and European waste management business AVR, owned by private equity firms KKR and CVC. Shanks' adviser, investment banking firm Greenhill, is keen to get an auction going for the company, which is the last quoted business in the sector in Europe. However, it has been under pressure as the recession has reduced the amount of waste and the value of recycled products. …