Probe into Bouygues’ £6bn acquisition of Equans

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

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) set a deadline of 7 June for interested parties to comment on the effect of the contractor’s proposed purchase of Equans.

French-owned Bouygues announced plans in November 2021 to acquire Equans, which was created as a standalone business in July 2021, from fellow French firm Engie.

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

If Equans’ operations are successfully combined with Bouygues’ Energy and Services division, the enlarged entity is expected to have annual revenue of about €16bn (£13.7bn) and a headcount of about 96,000.

The acquisition, which is subject to approval by employee representative bodies, as well as regulators, is pencilled in for completion in the second half of this year.

Bouygues pledged to make no compulsory redundancies in Europe for at least five years from the completion date of the transaction.

The deal does not include Engie’s power-generation and supply operations in the UK. However, it would still represent the largest acquisition in Bouygues’ history, expanding its geographic reach and boosting the range of services it can offer.

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

In August 2021, Engie appointed former Vinci UK managing director Jean-Philippe Loiseau as chief executive of the Equans business in the UK and Ireland.

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

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