Veolia-Suez : la bataille en eaux troubles d’Ile-de-France

Le système hydraulique sous les réservoirs d’eau de Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), géré par le Syndicat des eaux d’Ile-de-France, le 21 août 2015.

Six mois de réflexion ont été nécessaires. Le puissant Syndicat des eaux d’Ile-de-France (Sedif), qui assure la desserte en eau potable de 150 communes et 4,7 millions de Franciliens, avait suspendu, le 17 avril, l’appel d’offres visant à attribuer ce contrat de 4,3 milliards d’euros sur douze ans, le plus important marché de l’eau en Europe.

It must be said that an unusual leak had occurred: following a computer incident, Veolia – the manager of this delegation for a hundred years – had gained access to confidential documents of its competitor Suez, as revealed by the weekly magazine Marianne. How to handle a procedure when one of the candidates knows certain secrets of the other?

According to multiple sources, André Santini, the mayor (UDI) of Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine) and president of Sedif since 1983, announced to the stakeholders on Tuesday, October 17th, that the call for bids was completed. There will be no submission of « final offers » as the procedure launched in May 2021 had planned. The conceding authority intends to base its decision on the « intermediate offers » submitted by the candidates in mid-November 2022. To finalize the contract with the future winner of this long-term competition, Sedif is considering, at most, a « clarification process ».

er janvier 2022 ».er janvier 2025 ».

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The change of direction by Sedif raises some questions. How can the demands that arose during the public debate be precisely integrated if the offers are fixed at an earlier date? Is the public institution giving up on benefiting from potentially more favorable prices that may arise in a final auction? How can the best contract be obtained without negotiating again with the candidates, which would amount to restarting a procedure tainted with doubts?

These suspicions arose on April 4th when confidential documents regarding Suez’s offer were made accessible to Veolia on the file exchange platform used by Sedif. This anomaly intensified the following day. In total, Veolia received nearly 550 files. Veolia acknowledges that only three of them contained information that should not have been brought to their attention. To understand this glitch, an IT expert was appointed by Sedif.

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