Thursday, 21 July 2011
Case 330 - Suez-Lyonnaise Des Eaux (SLDE)
Suez-Lyonnaise Des Eaux (SLDE), now named just Suez is a leading French-based multinational corporation headquartered in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, with operations primarily in water, electricity and natural gas supply, and waste management. Suez was result of a 1997 merger between the Compagnie de Suez and Lyonnaise des Eaux, a leading French water company. In the early 2000s Suez also owned some media and telecommunications assets, but has since divested these. According to the Masons Water Yearbook 2004/5, Suez served 117.4 million people around the world. The company conducted a merger of equals with fellow utility company Gaz de France on 22 July 2008 to form GDF Suez. The water and waste assets of Suez were spun off into a separate publicly-traded company, Suez Environnement.
The privatization of water has had a disastrous impact on the human right to clean water, and the French company Suez is the worst perpetrator of this abuse. The companyâ€™s billions of dollars in profit come at the expense of poor people living in countries where thousands lack access to potable water, and, because of private water contracts, are also facing skyrocketing water prices.
Suez goes by many names around the world-<>Ondeo, SITA and others-to mask its worldwide net of controversial activities. In Manila, Philippines, after seven years of water privatization under a Suez company (Maynilad Water) contract, studies showed that water rates increased in some neighborhoods by 400 to 700 percent. These studies also showed that the negligence of the company resulted in cholera and gastroenteritis outbreaks that killed six people and severely sickened 725 in Manilaâ€™s Tondo district.
In Bolivia, a Suez company (Aguas de Illimani) left 200,000 people without access to water and caused a revolt when it tried to charge between $335 and $445 to connect a private home to the water supply. Countless people were unable to afford this charge in a country whose yearly per capita GDP is $915.
Unfortunately, the IMF and World Bank are playing a key role in pushing water privatization all over the world. Many countries have been required to open up their water supply to private companies as a condition for receiving IMF loans, and the World Bank has approved millions of dollars in loans for the privatization of water systems.