NYSE Euronext-listed Suez, which operates across five continents, supplies drinking water to 76 million people, provides wastewater treatment services for 44 million people and collects waste produced by 51 million people.
Last year, the group’s European water business recorded steady revenue growth of 7.1% thanks to several new water and waste treatment contracts, as well as the extension of a number of existing contracts worth hundreds of millions of euros each. Suez’s European waste business grew more modestly, but still managed 3.9% revenue growth despite an unfavourable economic environment in the fourth quarter.
The group saw a 6% growth in international revenues thanks to new contracts from Australia, Central Europe, China, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria and India. In China, Suez made a 7.5% acquisition of Chongqing Water as part of its strategy to expand its presence in the country.
For this year, Suez is targeting low single-digit growth because of the downturn. The group says that the impact of the deteriorating economic environment directly affects its waste operations for its industrial and commercial customers and its recycling businesses. However, in the water sector the group’s businesses offer strong resistance and good long-term visibility. Suez’s chief executive officer, Jean-Louis Chaussade, is bullish about the group’s long-term prospects. “The availability of natural resources and the emergence of sustainable growth are among the major issues of the 21st century,” he said. “Water and waste businesses are growth activities.”
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