Bouygues enters exclusive talks to sell Saur to PAI

The Bouygues Group, a French building and communications conglomerate, reported it received an offer of 1.037 billion euros (US$1.35 billion) from European equity investment firm PAI Partners for its water treatment unit Saur, which serves over 50 million people worldwide...

PARIS, Nov. 15, 2004 -- The Bouygues Group, a French building and communications conglomerate, reported it received an offer of 1.037 billion euros (US$1.35 billion) from European equity investment firm PAI Partners for its water treatment unit Saur.

The offer, which was made as part of an invitation to tender bids on July 23, is conditional on approval of antitrust authorities and excludes activities in Africa and Italy. The sale was prompted by the group's effort to reduce debt and refocus on core operations.

On this basis, Bouygues has agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations with PAI Partners with a view to selling its subsidiary Saur. Bouygues intends to retain 15% interest in the company.

In September, reported The Financial Times, Bouygues said it had "more or less 15" potential buyers for Saur that were mainly thought to be private equity groups. It's believed the company also has considered floating the unit. Bouygues tried to sell Saur before but negotiations with Eon of Germany collapsed three years ago.

Saur and Bouygues' Workers Councils have been convened for a meeting on this subject on Nov. 17.

The group reported Saur sales dropped by 2% in its most recent quarterly results released Nov. 9. Excluding the impact of the disposal of South East Water at the end of September 2003, sales would be 4% higher, it said.

About Saur
The Saur Group (www.saur.com/en/home.php) is a main actor in the field of delegated service management for water treatment. It has a presence in 7,000 communities and serves over 50 million people: including 35 million (6 million in France) in water and purification for municipal and industrial use, and 11 million in electricity distribution. It employs 23,000 people. Saur was first created in 1933 and joined the Bouygues Group in 1984.

About Bouyges
Bouygues (www.bouygues.fr/us/index.asp) is a diversified industrial group with a strong corporate culture. Established in 80 countries, the Bouygues group has a total workforce of 124,000.

About PAI
PAI Partners (www.paimanagement.com) is one of the oldest and most experienced private equity firms in Europe with its origins dating back to Paribas Affaires Industrielles, the historical principal investment activity of Paribas, the pan-European merchant bank which merged with BNP in 1999.

Controlled by its 11 partners and with offices in Paris, London, Madrid and Milan, PAI partners is an independent company which manages and advises dedicated private equity funds with a total equity value of more than 5 billion euros (US$6.47 billion).

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