STRONG RESILIENCE AND REBOUND CAPACITY IN THE FACE OF THE CRISIS
NET CURRENT INCOME GROUP SHARE OF €415M
4th QUARTER RESULTS ABOVE 2019 AND ABOVE EXPECTATIONS, CONFIRM THE STRONG REBOUND THE 3rd QUARTER
FILING OF A TENDER OFFER ON SUEZ ON FEBRUARY 8th 2021 AT €18 PER SHARE DIVIDEND INCLUDED
2020 REVENUE OF €26 010M
RETURN OF GROWTH IN Q4, TO +0.9%(1)
2020 EBITDA OF €3641M, ABOVE THE GROUP’S REVISED TARGET, THANKS TO €278M IN EFFICIENCY GAINS, COMPLEMENTED BY THE RECOVER AND ADAPT PLAN
EBITDA UP +4.2%(1) IN Q4
NET CURRENT INCOME GROUP SHARE OF €415M
PROPOSAL TO INCREASE THE DIVIDEND FOR YEAR 2020 TO €0.70 PER SHARE
REVENUE ABOVE 2019 LEVEL THANKS TO SOLID ORGANIC GROWTH
EBITDA ABOVE €4BN
NET FINANCIAL DEBT BELOW €12BN AND LEVERAGE RATIO BELOW 3x
OBJECTIVE TO RECOVER THE PRE-CRISIS DIVIDEND POLICY AS SOON AS 2021
(1) At constant forex vs. 2019
(2) At constant forex
Antoine Frérot, Veolia’s Chairman & CEO commented: In 2020, Veolia has once again proven its remarkable capacity for resiliency in a significantly worsened economic context due to the unprecedented global sanitary crisis. The Group had already recovered its 2019 level of activity in the third quarter, a rebound which was amplified in the 4th quarter, with revenue growing and EBITDA up 4.2%. These very encouraging results have been achieved thanks to the outstanding commitment of all the employees of the Group, and thanks to the adaptation measures put in place at the very beginning of the sanitary crisis. Veolia will have thus wiped out all the impacts of the crisis and recovered its growth trajectory and its operating leverage in less than 6 months. In 2021, the Group should therefore achieve higher performance than in 2019. Moreover, in 2020, Veolia has seized the unique opportunity to create the world champion of ecological transformation by acquiring 29.9% of the capital of Suez. On February 8th 2021, we filed a public tender offer for the remaining 70.1% of Suez’s shares. Thanks to a unique complementarity, the new Group resulting from this industrial project will be ideally positioned to tackle the huge challenges our planet is facing, at a time when the environmental priority has never been stronger.
• Revenue of €26 010 million compared to €27 189 million in 2019, a decrease of -4.3% at current exchange rates, of -2.9% at constant exchange rates and of -2.5% at constant scope and exchange rates.
Exchange rate variations unfavorably impacted revenue growth by -1.5% in 2020 (-€401 million).
At constant forex, revenue decreased by 2.9%, penalized in the 1st (-1.3%) and in the 2nd quarter (-11.0%) by the sanitary crisis and the lockdowns put in place, then rebounded in Q3 (-0.6%) and grew back again in the 4th quarter (+0.9%).
In Q4 despite the second wave of the sanitary crisis impacting commercial and tertiary waste which volumes were slightly down compared to 2019, France and Rest of Europe segments have confirmed their rebound initiated in Q3. Activity in Rest of the World almost recovered its 2019 level (reaching in the 4th quarter 98.5% of Q4 2019 at constant scope and exchange rates, i.e. excluding mainly the divestiture of the municipal energy assets in the US in 2019). Global businesses rebounded in the 3rd quarter (notably construction) and then stabilized in the last quarter of the year.
For the full year, at constant forex, revenue decreased by 2.9%, mainly due to the effects of the sanitary crisis on activity levels and construction, for a total of €915M (-3.4%). Scope impact was -€102M (-0.4%) mainly due to the divestiture of the municipal energy assets in the US in 2019 partially offset by an acquisition in hazardous waste in Chile in 2019, and in 2020, the acquisition of a plastic recycling activity in Spain, of waste treatment assets in Russia, and of municipal energy assets in Central and Eastern Europe.
The impact of energy and recycled materials prices was non-significant, -€40M, or -0.1%, including a favorable energy price effect of +€68M more than offset by lower recyclate prices for -€108M. Service prices were up by 1% (+€286M). Weather effect was neutral.
In the waste activity, the impact of lower volumes and activity levels was -5.2% in 2020, while recycled material prices weighed by -1.1%.
By geography and at constant exchange rates, the evolution is as follows:
- In France, revenue decreased by 3.9%. Water activities declined by 2.2% mostly due to lower works during the lockdown period in the 1st half. After a revenue decrease of 6.4% in H1, activity was back to growth in H2, to +1.7%, including a revenue growth in Q4 of +2.5%. In 2020, water volumes grew by 0.8% (after a 2019 year already strong in terms of volumes), and tariffs were up by 1.5%. Waste revenue declined by 5.9% in 2020, with volumes down by 5.7% and prices up by 2.3%, and recycled materials prices sharply down in the beginning of the year bounced back in Q4. Waste activities recovered growth in the second half (+1.6%), including in particular +2.5% in Q4.
- Europe excluding France has proven very resilient in the face of the crisis, and grew by 0.4% for the full year, of which +5.3% in the 4th quarter. This progression is mostly attributable to Central and Eastern Europe, up by 6.3%, and +14.9% in Q4. Energy revenue grew by 7.1%, thanks to energy price increases, a favorable weather in Q4 and the integration of the district heating network of Prague Right Bank and cogeneration assets in Budapest. Water revenue progressed by 1.3%, due to tariff increases and good volumes except for Prague, penalized by lower tourism. Northern Europe revenue declined by 3.1%, due to lower commercial and industrial waste volumes in Germany and to lower prices and volumes of recycled materials, but grew again in Q4 (+1.1%) thanks to the recovery of a normal level of activity. UK (and Ireland) exhibited a 4.6% revenue decline, due to the lockdown period. Commercial and industrial waste volumes reached about 90%of their 2019 levels in Q3, but decreased again in Q4. PFI facilities performed very well, showing an average availability rate of 94.1% vs. 93.8% in 2019, whereas landfilling decreased by 7.6%. Lower revenue was more than offset at the EBITDA level thanks to excellent operational efficiency. Southern Europe performed well, with revenue up 2.1% and +6.1% in Q4, with in particular solid dynamics in Spain and Portugal.
- Rest of the World revenue came out slightly down, by 1.7% at constant scope and exchange rates. Asia progressed by 0.7%. Growth has been slowed by lower construction revenue in Hong Kong and in Japan. China recovered solid growth in Q4, +4.1%, notably due to the continued very strong growth of hazardous waste activity (+27%). Latin America grew by +6.6%, thanks to tariff increases and the integration of tuck-ins. North America revenue decreased by 3.2% at constant scope and exchange rates mainly due to lower activity with refineries. Pacific was resilient, with revenue almost flat, -0.7%, and up 0.8% in Q4. Africa Middle East was stable in 2020.
- Global businesses revenue decreased by 5.3% at constant exchange rates and were stable in Q4. In Construction activities, Veolia Water Technologies grew by +3.7%, with notably good performances of desalination, and Sade was down by 6.8% but rebounded sharply in the second half, with the restarting of construction works after the lockdown (+8.1% at constant scope and perimeter in Q4). Hazardous waste business was hit by lower industrial activity in the 1st half, but has recovered volume levels close to 2019, with only the unfavorable impact of lower used oils recycling prices. Industrial and energy services activity decreased by 17% due to lockdown.
• By business, at constant exchange rates, Water revenue was slightly down, -1,0%, with stable volumes (-0.2%), increased prices (+0,7%) but lower construction works due to sanitary crisis. Waste revenue declined by -3.2%, with volumes down by -5.2% and prices up +2.0%. Energy revenue decreased by -5.8% but only by -2.0% at constant scope and forex, after the divestiture of the municipal energy business in the US end 2019.
• EBITDA of €3 641M vs. €4 022M in 2019
Forex effect was negative by -€59M, of which -€21M in Latin America and -€20M in Central and Eastern Europe. Scope effect was also unfavorable by -€36M, due to the divestiture of the municipal energy business in the US end 2019, partially offset by targeted acquisitions in Central Europe.
2020 EBITDA decreased by 8.0% at constant forex and by 7.1% at constant scope and forex mostly due to lower activity levels and volumes for a total of -€443M (which amount was reduced thanks to the specific Recover and Adapt plan put in place), resulting largely from the sanitary crisis. The price cost squeeze impact of €142M was more than offset the recurring efficiency savings of €278M. Weather effect was neutral. Energy and recycled materials prices had a net positive impact of +€28M.
- By segment: EBITDA in France reached €848M vs. €900M in 2019. EBITDA in Rest of Europe was €1 404M vs. €1 501M. EBITDA in Rest of the world reached €942M vs. €1 162M but includes the effect of the divestiture of the heating business in the US for -€84 M. Finally the EBITDA of Global Businesses totaled €324M vs. €396M in 2019.
• Current EBIT of €1 275M vs. €1 730M in 2019
Forex effect was negative by -€25M.
Current EBIT at constant forex decreased by 24.8% and by 21.2 % at constant scope and forex due to :
EBITDA decrease mainly,
Stable Depreciation and Amortization of €2 190M in 2020 vs. €2 192M in 2019, resulting from the control on maintenance capex in order to focus on growth capex. Renewal expenses were also nearly flat at €275M vs. €280M in 2019.
The « Provisions, fair value adjustment and other items » evolution was unfavorable by €64M, and reached -€12M in 2020, vs. a net reversal of +€52M in 2019, which was due to ended litigations.
And finally a decrease in the current net income of joint-ventures and associates, to €111M vs.€130M in 2019 due to temporary lower water volumes in our Chinese concessions, due to the sanitary crisis.
• Current net income group share of €415M vs. €760M in 2019
Cost of financing is significantly down, to -€414M vs. -€441M in 2019, thank to favorable debt refinancing and an improved remuneration of our cash. Gross cost of borrowing reached 2.44% vs. 3.06% in 2019. Net financial capital gains are stable, at €26M vs. €24M in 2019.
Tax rate stood at 26.1%. Tax charges amounted to €160M vs. €227M in 2019.
Non-controlling interests were stable, at -€146M vs. -€147M in 2019.
• Net income group share of €89 M, vs. €625M in 2019
Restructuring charges are sharply down, to €95M vs. €121M in 2019 but asset impairments are up to €231M vs. €184M in 2019, mostly from Morocco and Latin America.
• Net Free cash-flow reached €507M thanks to strict capex control (€2 151M down by €50M) and to another improvement of WCR (down €233M thanks to a very strict cash collection policy).
• Net financial debt of €13 217M
- In 2019, net financial debt benefitted from the divestiture of our municipal energy assets in the US for $1.25bn. In 2020, the Group has reinvested €1 476M in targeted acquisitions and has financed the acquisition of the 29.9% stake in Suez for €1 453M in debt. Leverage ratio stood at 3.2 x at 31/12/2020, excluding the purchase of the 29.9 % stake in Suez. Excluding M&A, net financial debt is down by €392M, to €10 288M.
Increase of the dividend, to €0.70 per share, to be paid at 100 % in cash with respect to the 2020 fiscal year.
Veolia’s Board of Directors will propose to shareholders at the Annual General Shareholders Meeting on April 22, 2021 the payment of a dividend of €0.70 per share with respect to the 2020 fiscal year, payable in cash. The ex-dividend date is fixed at May 10, 2021. 2020 dividends will be paid starting as of May 12, 2021.
• 2021 Prospects*
Despite the continued sanitary crisis since the beginning of the year, Veolia should more than offset the unfavorable impacts of 2020 and plans to achieve strong growth in its results in 2021.
Revenue : above 2019 level
€350M of efficiency gains: €250M recurring efficiencies and €100M of complementary savings from the Recover & Adapt Plan
EBITDA above €4bn, a growth of more than 10% vs. 2020
Net Financial debt down to below €12bn at the end of 2021, and a leverage ratio below 3 times
Objective to recover the pre-crisis dividend policy in 2021
* at constant exchange rates
• Filing on February 8th 2021 of a Public Tender Offer on Suez Group at €18 per share cum dividend, in order to create the world champion of the ecological transformation
On October 6th 2020, Veolia acquired from Engie a 29.9% stake in Suez for a total consideration of €3.4 bn.
Veolia has then filed on February 8th 2021 a tender offer on the remaining 70.1% of Suez at €18 per share cum dividend.
By combining the very strong competencies of Suez and Veolia, this transaction will significantly accelerate the development of the new entity facing growing competition, and enable the sector to tackle the environmental challenges of the 21st century. This project relies on the following pillars:
- Stronger expertise and commercial offering
- Enhanced innovation capabilities
- An improved geographical footprint
- A compelling combination
Finally this combination is value creating for all the stakeholders.
For employees, the combined entity, more innovative and more international, will offer even more prospects and opportunities. The transaction will have no negative impact on employment in France. Moreover, the new combined entity will be a better partner to all clients, municipalities and industrial clients, enabling them to fulfill their environmental objectives more rapidly.Finally, the transaction will create value from year 1 for the shareholders of Veolia, thanks notably to operational and procurement synergies estimated at €500M.
This common, inspiring project is perfectly in line with the Purpose of Veolia and will position ideally the new entity in order to tackle the main challenge of this century: the ecological transformation
Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 179,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions which contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.
In 2019, the Veolia group supplied 98 million people with drinking water and 67 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 45 million megawatt hours of energy and treated 50 million metric tons of waste. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €27.189 billion in 2019 (USD 29.9 billion). www.veolia.com
As the changes in the health crisis are difficult to estimate, we draw your attention to the “forward-looking statements” that may appear in this press release and relating to the consequences of this crisis which may affect the future performance of the Company.
Veolia Environnement is a corporation listed on the Euronext Paris. This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control, including but not limited to: the risk of suffering reduced profits or losses as a result of intense competition, the risk that changes in energy prices and taxes may reduce Veolia Environnement’s profits, the risk that governmental authorities could terminate or modify some of Veolia Environnement’s contracts, the risk that acquisitions may not provide the benefits that Veolia Environnement hopes to achieve, the risks related to customary provisions of divesture transactions, the risk that Veolia Environnement’s compliance with environmental laws may become more costly in the future, the risk that currency exchange rate fluctuations may negatively affect Veolia Environnement’s financial results and the price of its shares, the risk that Veolia Environnement may incur environmental liability in connection with its past, present and future operations, as well as the other risks described in the documents Veolia Environnement has filed with the Autorités des Marchés Financiers (French securities regulator). Veolia Environnement does not undertake, nor does it have, any obligation to provide updates or to revise any forward looking statements. Investors and security holders may obtain from Veolia Environnement a free copy of documents it filed (www.veolia.com) with the Autorités des Marchés Financiers.
This document contains "non‐GAAP financial measures". These "non‐GAAP financial measures" might be defined differently from similar financial measures made public by other groups and should not replace GAAP financial measures prepared pursuant to IFRS standards
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