Business Briefs: waste and water services; mergers in Spain; Basque energy projects; and Latvian CHP

In this week’s European Business Briefs, re-organisation for waste and water services at Suez, Vivendi is to reduce its stake in its environmental branch, a Spanish wastewater company and an electric company are to merge, state aid for Basque energy projects, and a Latvian energy company is to receive a boost from a European bank.

French company Suez has announced that it is combining its Ondeo water activities and SITA waste services into one division, which will have a turnover of €15 billion and employ 120,000 people. This latest move follows an announcement last December that the company was establishing an energy division. It is hoped that this will enable the Group to improve its efficiency and competitive position.

Still in France, according to media reports, Vivendi has announced – as expected – that its supervisory board has approved a plan to reduce its stake in Vivendi Environment to around 40%, with a sale of around 15% to French investors.

Meanwhile, in Spain the joint venture between wastewater treatment company Canal de Isabel II and electric company Hidroeléctrica del Cantábrico can now go ahead following a decision by the European Commission that the merger will not be a monopoly. The new company will develop the activities of generation, distribution and supply of electricity in the Madrid region.

Also in Spain, the European Commission has authorised state aid for the construction of a combined cycle power station and a regasification plant in Bilbao. The aid for the two projects totals €53.2 million.

Finally, in Lativa, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that it has awarded a loan of €80 million for upgrading a combined heat and power plant in Riga. The plant is owned by Latvia’s power company, SJSC Latvenergo, and the money will also be spent on upgrading the transmission and distribution networks throughout the country.

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