Bouygues has agreed in principle to pay €7.1bn for Equans from Engie and the two French companies are now in exclusive negotiations.
Engie began life as the gas monopoly operator Gaz de France (GDF), created as sister company to Électricité de France (EDF) in 1946. In 2008 the government merged GDF with water and waste company Suez. GDF Suez changed its name to Engie in 2015. It remains partially owned by the French state.
A restructuring in July 2021 saw its technical services, including regeneration and facilities management, hived off and rebranded as Equans. Equans employs 74,000 people in 17 countries, of which 27,000 in France. It generates an annual turnover of more than €12bn.
In the UK & Ireland it turns over £2bn and employs 13,500 people.
After Engie put Equans up for sale, Bouygues’ offer was “the most compelling taking into account all criteria including financial valuation”, Engie said.
Bouygues has agreed to not implement any forced redundancy plans in Europe for five years after closing, and to create 10,000 additional jobs over five years.
The proposed transaction will be submitted to the relevant employee representative bodies for consultation and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
Engie chief executive Catherine MacGregor, who joined Engie from Technip in January 2021, said: “The compelling offers that we received are a testament to Equans’ global leadership in multi-technical services. By joining Bouygues, Equans, under the leadership of Jérôme Stubler, will benefit from the strong growth of its underlying markets. I am so proud of what has been achieved by Engie in just a few months, thanks to the extraordinary commitment of our teams. This is a major milestone in the execution of our strategy, aimed at simplifying the Group and accelerating investment in our core businesses, notably in Renewables.”
Equans chief executive Jérôme Stubler said: “I am extremely proud of the Equans teams, their skills, their commitment and their success over the past few months. I thank them for that. I am delighted with the industrial project, the creation of a world leader and the social commitments of Bouygues, as well as the promising prospects that are opening up for Equans.”
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, chairman of the board of Engie, added: “Today’s announcement is fully in line with the group’s strategic orientation announced by the board in July 2020. The Equans teams will join a group which will enable them to seize numerous development opportunities. Engie will benefit from important means to accelerate the implementation of its strategy. We are convinced that this step is positive for all stakeholders and sets the foundation for long-term growth of Engie.”