(Bloomberg) — French conglomerate Bouygues SA agreed to buy energy giant Engie SA’s services unit Equans for 7.1 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in what would be one of the country’s largest deals this year.
“This is the biggest acquisition Bouygues has ever made,” Chief Executive Officer Olivier Roussat said in a statement on Saturday. “The multitechnical services market is an up-and-coming one with strong growth potential, and will play a crucial role in the energy transition.”
The deal will help Bouygues, a construction, telecommunications and media firm that had almost 35 billion euros in revenue last year, reinforce its own under-performing energy and services unit. For Engie, the sale will quicken transition to cleaner energy, including renewable power generation and infrastructure such as car-charging networks.
Equans installs and maintains air conditioning, electrical systems and telecommunications equipment, and generates more than 12 billion euros in annual revenue. The sale has been politically sensitive for Engie and the French government ahead of next April’s presidential election, as Equans employs more than a third of its 74,000 workers in the country.
The deal will be “significantly accretive” for Bouygues’ earnings per share in year one as the new entity aims for a mid-term current operating margin of over 5%, Bouygues said in a statement. The deal’s potential for synergies is estimated between 120 million euros and 200 million euros per year. The acquisition of all Equans shares will be financed from existing resources and a loan from partner banks, which will be refinanced through bond issuance.
The new entity will become Bouygues’ largest business segment by sales at around 16 billion euros with about 96,000 employees. It will be headed by Equans CEO Jerome Stubler, who will determine its structure along with Pierre Vanstoflegatte, CEO of Bouygues group’s Energies & Services arm.
“Bouygues’ offer was the most compelling taking into account all criteria including financial valuation,” Engie, based near Paris, said in an earlier statement. The power and gas utility already sold most of its stake in French water company Suez SA a year ago, and a stake in its French gas-transmission network in July.
Bouygues’ offer, advised by Greenhill & Co and Credit Agricole CIB, beat out other suitors including French rival Eiffage SA and U.S. buyout firm Bain Capital, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg News. French industrial group Spie SA dropped out of the race for Equans in October.
Bouygues pledged to carry out no compulsory redundancies in Europe for at least five years after the deal. In addition to the 15,000-20,000 new hires required annually to cover estimated staff turnover at the new entity, it also committed to create over 10,000 net new jobs over that time.
Union CFE-CGC called on Bouygues to go further in a statement on Saturday and on Engie to reinvest cash generated by the deal in its industrial project.
The buyer and seller said they expect the deal to be completed in the second half of next year.
Shares of Bouygues have risen 5.8% in Paris trading this year, giving the company a market value of about 13.6 billion euros. Engie shares have risen just 1.5% this year. By comparison, France’s benchmark CAC40 Index has climbed almost 27% in the period.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.