Negotiations have started on the sale of SUEZ’s recycling and recovery operations in four European countries to PreZero.
PreZero is the environmental division of Schwarz Group, which is the owner of the Lidl supermarket chain.
SUEZ has entered into exclusive negotiations with PreZero for it to sell its recycling and recovery operations in Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland. However, plastic recycling and hazardous waste treatment are excluded from the negotiations.
Both parties have also entered into a memorandum of understanding to explore possibilities to develop strategic partnerships promoting innovative waste management solutions to accelerate the development of the circular economy.
The news comes as SUEZ attempts to resist a takeover bid by rival Veolia.
In Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland, SUEZ handles a broad range of waste types including wood, glass, paper and metal. It has around 125 sites in these countries and generated €1.11 billion (£1 billion) in sales.
Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2021.
SUEZ chief executive Bertrand Camus said: “This project marks a major step in the achievement of our SUEZ 2030 strategic plan, presented last October, which plans to concentrate our forces in France and Europe, on the activities and geographies where we can deploy our most promising innovations to become the leader in environmental services.
“This transaction is part of our asset rotation programme and values the quality of our business portfolio.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to accelerate the circular economy with our partners at Schwarz Group as part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed today. We are confident that, within PreZero, these activities and teams will continue to grow for the benefit of the environment.”
PreZero is active in Europe and North America and has 3,600 employees over 90 locations.
Its executive board member Thomas Kyriakis added: “With the contemplated acquisition of SUEZ’s recycling and recovery businesses in Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland, we are further enhancing the waste stream cycles in order to improve waste and recycling management and reduce the consumption of natural resources.
“Municipal customers and our partners in commercial and industry likewise will benefit from us driving competition. At the same time, the Schwarz Group outlines its responsibility to establish a sustainable circular economy.”