Veolia Posts Lower Earnings, Sales Down

Zacks

Veolia Environnement’s (VE) net operating income in the first quarter 2013 was €405 million ($519 million), down 1.5% from €411 million ($543.2 million) in the year-ago quarter.

Total Revenue

In the first quarter of 2013, total revenue was €5.75 billion ($7.37 billion) versus €5.99 billion ($7.91 billion) in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting a decline of 3.9%.

The top-line decline was primarily due to lower contributions from its Water, Environmental Services and Energy Services segments.

Segment Results

Water: Total revenue from this segment in the first quarter declined 2.9% year over year to €2.49 billion ($3.19 billion) from €2.61 billion ($3.44 billion). The decline was attributable to lower construction work in France, U.K. and Korea.

Enviornmental Services: Total revenue from this segment was €1.93 billion ($2.47 billion) versus €2.06 billion ($3.45 billion) in the first quarter of 2012, down 6.4%. The decline was primarily due to a challenging macroeconomic environment combined with unfavorable weather in France, U.K. and Germany.

Energy Services: The segment generated total revenue in the first quarter of 2013 of €1.26 billion ($1.62 billion), declining 0.6% from €1.27 billion ($1.68 billion) in the comparable year-ago quarter.

Other: Revenue generated from the Other segment increased 62.4% to €63.2 million ($81 million) from €38.9 million ($51.4 million) in the year-ago period.

Financial Update

Free cash flow in the first three months ending Mar 31, 2013 was € 594 million ($761.3 million) compared with € 339 million ($448 million) registered in the comparable year-ago period.

Net financial debt as of Mar 31, 2013 was €10.1 billion ($12.94 billion), down from €10.8 billion ($14.27 billion) as of Dec 31, 2012.

Guidance

Veolia Environnement had provided a combined outlook for the years 2012 and 2013. The company decided to sell assets worth €6 billion and bring the net financial debt in the range of €8 billion to €9 billion.

The company also provided a business outlook beyond 2013. The company forecasts organic revenue growth of 3% per year from 2013, while adjusted operating cash flow is expected to be over 5% per annum. The company is also expected to pay a dividend of €0.70 per share each in the next two years.

Other Company Release

Aqua America Inc. (WTR) reported first quarter 2013 earnings of 29 cents, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents by 7.4%.

Our View

Veolia Environnement continues to transform its business and cut operational cost to become more competitive. The positive results of its initial cost reduction initiatives have prompted the company to revise its cost savings target. Veolia Environnement expects to save €750 million in 2015 compared with the prior savings guidance of €470 million.

Veolia Environnement retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We however prefer Zacks Ranked #2 stocks American States Water Company (AWR) and American Water Works Company Inc. (AWK).

Based in France, Veolia Environnement is a provider of environmental management services to its worldwide consumers.
 

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