Water Industry News
Veolia Environment says
November 5th, 2004
PARIS -- Veolia Environnement SA, the
water utility that was once at the heart of Vivendi Universal SA, said
Thursday that revenue, operating earnings and debt all declined in the
third quarter as the company pursued its program of asset disposals.
Like many French companies, Veolia does not release net income figures
for the first and third quarters.
The world’s largest water company said revenue fell 11.9 percent to
6.17 billion euros ($7.91 billion) in the July-September period, from
7.01 billion euros in the year-earlier quarter. Earnings before interest
and tax fell to 279 million euros ($358 million) from 351 million euros.
Vivendi and Veolia are the former owners of Palm Desert-based USFilter
Corp., which is now owned by Siemens AG of Germany.
Siemens’ nearly $1-billion purchase of most of USF’s water
technology and services business was completed this summer.
Veolia’s water division, which accounts for 35 percent of its’
business, suffered from milder weather conditions in France after last
year’s heat wave, but benefited from a series of new contracts abroad,
particularly in Asia. Veolia said water division revenue for the quarter
came to 7.26 billion euros ($9.31 billion), up 1.6 percent from the same
period of 2003.
Higher energy prices and new contracts also helped the energy division
to boost its revenues by 7.4 percent to 3.41 billion euros ($4.37
billion) in the first nine months of 2004.
Veolia decided last year to dispose of assets and restructure its
businesses to trim a bulging debt amassed by former Vivendi chairman
Proceeds from the sale of water operations in the United States and a
lucrative stake in a Spanish construction company allowed Veolia to cut
its net debt to 10.1 billion euros ($12.95 billion) as of Sept. 30 from
12.7 billion euros at the end of June.
The group said it continues to anticipate double-digit operating profit
growth at its core businesses in the full year and expects net debt to
stabilize at the end of 2004.