Material price boost sees Veolia post ‘record’ results

Veolia started 2022 in “good conditions”, the French waste management company’s chairman and CEO, Antoine Frérot, said yesterday (18 March), after announcing “record” results for last year.

Veolia Suez
Veolia has agreed to sell Suez UK to Macquarie but SUEZ has first refusal

And, the company said its takeover of Suez would add £10 billion in annual revenue and “enhance our earning per share by around 40% in 2024”.

The merger has been approved by the European Commission but is still being investigated by the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) (see letsrecycle.com story).

Veolia’s overall revenue rose by 9.6% from €26 billion (£21.9 billion) in 2020 to €28.5 billion (£24 billion) in 2021 thanks to higher volumes and increased service prices, the company says, combined with higher energy and recycled materials prices.

Veolia says its results are “equally strong” when compared to 2019, the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic, with its revenue up 6.5% since then.

The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation grew by 16% from 2020 to €4.23 billion (£3.56 billion).

Veolia’s net income more than doubled, from €382 million (£321 million) in 2020 to €896 million (£753 million) in 2021.

Looking at its results in the UK in more detail, Veolia says it benefitted from a rebound in volumes of commercial and industrial waste to pre-Covid levels, a good level of service prices, excellent PFI availability rates (94.8%), and high recycled materials prices.

Veolia also revealed plans to boost dividends by 43% to €1 a share.

‘Strong note’

Commenting on the overall results, Mr Frérot said: “2021 year ended on the same strong note as in the first nine month, achieving record results.

Antoine Frérot is Veolia’s chairman and CEO

“Revenue growth remained strong throughout the year, both in terms of volumes – up 3% – and in value, thanks to the tariff indexation mechanisms in the majority of our contracts enabling to offset cost inflation.

“Moreover, the continued improvement of our efficiency has substantially amplified this increase of revenue.”

Materials

Veolia said an increase in the price of heat and electricity “gathered momentum” in the second half of 2021, increasing revenue by 1.5%.

Recycled material prices contributed €499 million (£420 million), or 1.9%, towards revenue growth, Veolia says, of which €319 million (£268 million) came from paper and cardboard, €63 million (£53 million) from plastics, and €60 million (£50 million) from metals.

This means Veolia’s overall revenue from recycled paper doubled to €605 million (£509 million), while plastic recycling revenue grew by 29% to €383 million (£322 million).

Merger

Mr Frérot said the results left Veolia in a strong position as it began to integrate the activities the company bought from its rival, Suez.

Veolia has agreed to acquire Suez at a price of €20.50 per share

Veolia has agreed to acquire its fellow French waste management company at a price of €20.50 (£17.71) per share (see letsrecycle.com story).

Noting how the acquisition would benefit Veolia’s finances, Mr Frérot said: “Close to €10 billion of revenue will complement our 2021 revenue of €28 billion, an increase of more than 30% which will notably strengthen our international footprint and accelerate innovation.

“This growth, in addition to the expected synergies, will enable our current net income to grow by more than 20% in 2022 and will enhance our earning per share by around 40% in 2024.”

Veolia says it has obtained permission to proceed with the merger from all competition authorities except those in the UK. The company says it expects the CMA to allow it to proceed with the acquisition in 2022.

Veolia says the new, combined company’s exposure to the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions imposed on Russia is “very limited”, given its activities in the region account for just 0.3% of the group’s revenues and less than 0.5% of capital expenditure.

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