30 October 2018 by Steve Eminton

SUEZ points to ‘confidence in UK businesses’

The global waste management and water business SUEZ today reported results to the end of September 2018, which it described as maintaining a “positive trend”.

The company, which is headquartered in Paris, and has its UK base in Maidenhead, said that its recycling and recovery division in Europe performed strongly over July-September with 3.4% growth. And, it also highlighted its commitment to the UK with a recent investment in further energy from waste capacity at Billingham, demonstrating its “confidence in the future of businesses” in the UK.

However, Suez did highlight that it faced “pricing pressures in recycled raw materials, in particular in paper and cardboard”.

Commenting on the results, which were particularly boosted by the company’s water activities, Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO, said: “The positive trend that emerged in the first half of the year has continued. SUEZ’s organic growth accelerated sharply in the third quarter to reach 3.8% at end-September. The Group recorded robust growth momentum in the first nine months of the year.”

Treated waste

Revenue in the European recycling and recovery division were bolstered by higher volumes of treated waste although this was countered by the commodity pressures.

Billingham

SUEZ UK’s energy from waste facilities at Billingham are to be expanded

A statement from SUEZ explained that treated volumes were up 2.8% and performance also benefited from “higher prices in the services activities”. It was, however, affected by the adverse trend in recycled raw materials prices, in particular paper and cardboard. “Operational profitability was thereby hindered by the impact of lower recycled raw materials prices, partially offset by the positive effect of higher electricity prices in the summer.”

UK confidence

The company also chose to highlight its “confidence” in the UK, referring to plans for an expansion of its facility in Billingham where it has existing energy from waste facilities (see letsrecycle.com story).

In a statement alongside its accounts, SUEZ referenced the construction of a “new energy-from-waste plant in the United Kingdom to treat household and commercial waste in the North East of the country from 2021.”

The statement continued: “With an investment of approximately £150 million, this facility — with the capacity to treat 240,000 tons a year — will be owned by the Group, demonstrating its confidence in the future of its businesses in the country and providing a concrete response to the lack of infrastructure.” No mention of Brexit was made with reference to the UK but it is thought likely that the UK confidence mention can be seen in light of the expected departure from the European Union.

Mr Boursier also noted that the closure of the Tilbury, Essex solid recovered fuel facility had an impact on UK performance.

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