Veolia says overhaul is on track despite slump in first-half profits
French conglomerate operates four divisions in Ireland, with a total workforce of 1,000
Veolia’s transport division operates the Luas in Dublin. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
Veolia Environment yesterday insisted a big strategic overhaul was on track despite reporting a slump in first-half profits on writedowns and restructuring charges.
Net income at the leading global water and waste utility by sales fell to just €4 million compared with €162 million in the same period last year, hit by goodwill impairments taken after a “strong deterioration” in the market for its German waste operations, the cost of voluntary redundancy programmes and the early redemption of bonds to help boost its cash position.
Group revenues were down about 3 per cent at €11.1 billion, with Pierre-François Riolacci, chief financial officer, saying business conditions in Europe – still Veolia’s main market – had improved in the period.
Antoine Frérot, (right) chief executive, is pushing through a plan to sharply reduce the number of countries in which Veolia does business – from 77 previously – and pursue higher margin markets such as toxic waste and nuclear decommissioning.
It will be present in 40 countries by the end of the year, while it seeks to build business in growing markets such as China and Latin America.
The French conglomerate operates four divisions in Ireland, with a total workforce of almost 1,000.
Its transport division operates the Luas in Dublin, while its environmental services operation provides hazardous and integrated waste management services, and its water division delivers water treatment solutions for industry and local authorities. In addition, Veolia’s subsidiary Dalkia provides managed energy and utility services.
It sold its UK water business and US solid waste business last year as part of a €6 billion divestment programme and is gradually selling out of the Transdev transport group, mainly through agreement with Caisse des Dépôts for the French state fund to raise its stake.
– (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013)