Veolia Sees Water Profits Growing Faster Outside Paris Home Base

Jul 01, 2014 8:12 am ET

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Veolia Environnement SA, Europe’s biggest publicly traded water company, is seeing profit from water-related contracts outside France this year offsetting an earnings drop in its home country.

“2014 is the year when things will intersect,” Chief Executive Officer Antoine Frerot said today at a news conference in Paris. “This means that the profits outside France are growing faster than they’re decreasing in France.”

While the CEO said prices on water contracts have fallen about 20 percent due to pressure from French municipalities, the Paris-based utility in February reported adjusted operating income advanced 17 percent in 2013 as adjusted net income almost quadrupled to 223 million euros ($305 million). Veolia is planning to cut expenses by 170 million euros this year as part of a 750 million-euro cost-saving program through 2015.

Veolia is seeking to move into such markets as water- treatment works for industries including food processing and oil, gas and mining. Veolia and rival Suez Environnement also are aiming for contracts in countries such as China and India as profit margins shrink on local municipal contracts.