Investigation into the acquisition of Equans by Bouygues for 6 billion pounds sterling

The competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Bouygues’ €7.1bn (£6.1bn) acquisition of Engie’s construction and services business Equans.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has set June 7 as the deadline for interested parties to comment on the effect of the proposed takeover of Equans by the entrepreneur.

French company Bouygues announced in November 2021 its intention to acquire Equans, which was created as a stand-alone company in July 2021, from fellow French company Engie.

All parties have a significant presence in the UK and the CMA will investigate whether the deal could lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” in any sector on those shores.

If the operations of Equans are successfully combined with the Energy and Services division of Bouygues, the enlarged entity should have an annual turnover of around 16 billion euros (£13.7 billion) and a workforce of approximately 96,000 people.

The acquisition, which is subject to the approval of employee representative bodies, as well as regulators, should be finalized during the second half of this year.

Bouygues has undertaken not to make any redundancies in Europe for at least five years from the date of completion of the operation.

The agreement does not include Engie’s electricity production and supply activities in the United Kingdom. However, it would still be the biggest acquisition in Bouygues’ history, expanding its geographic reach and strengthening the range of services it can offer.

The remaining Engie group would focus on energy infrastructure and renewables.

In August 2021, Engie appointed former Vinci UK Managing Director Jean-Philippe Loiseau as Managing Director of the Equans business in the UK and Ireland.

Bouygues and Engie have been contacted to comment on the CMA probe.

Alice F. Ponder