As Veolia announces its key figures at March 31, 2020, the Group would like to reiterate that it gave priority to continuity of service while ensuring reinforced safety for its employees. The Group acknowleged a moderate impact due to the sanitary crisis in Q1, and has seen signs of recovery since the end of April. It continues to register sustained revenue and profit growth excluding Covid and announced the implementation of a new “Recover and Adapt” plan, including €200 million of additional cost cutting in 2020 to help rebound as soon as crisis ends.
Antoine Frérot, Veolia’s Chairman & CEO commented: “We had a very good start of the year with months of January and February showing a continued solid growth in line with previous years. The sanitary crisis the whole world is facing has created massive disorder and has put a large part of the world economy to a halt. Veolia is ready to address all these challenges. As a provider of essential services in Water, Waste and Energy, and a partner of cities and businesses, Veolia is fully mobilized and has ensured the continuity of service while providing maximum safety to its employees, and I wish to thank them personally for their contribution and their involvement. In this particular context, Veolia has delivered a solid 1st quarter, with revenue down by only -0.5% and EBITDA down by -2.9% at constant scope and forex. In order to mitigate as much as possible the consequences of this economic shock and allow the Group to get out of it in good shape, I have already launched a very ambitious adaptation plan which will increase cost savings in 2020 by an additional €200 million and cut capex by €500 million while maintaining growth capex. This cost cutting plan comes in addition to the €250 million 2020 cost savings objective. The Group’s liquidity is very strong with €5.4 billion of cash and €4.2 billion of available credit lines. This financial strength and the Group’s agility will allow us to seize opportunities when they arise as the crisis ends.”
- Revenue equaled €6,675 million, down slightly by -0.5%1 but up +2.3%1 excluding Covid2 compared with the first quarter of 2019.
Revenue continued to grow in Q1 2020, with a positive volume/commerce impact of +1.8% (€120M), and an improving price effect of €80M (1.2% of revenue) but this favorable momentum was absorbed by the sanitary crisis, first in Asia and then in the rest of our geographies (total negative Covid impact of €192M).
At constant exchange rates, the following changes occurred in the first quarter of 2020:
- In France, activity was down -3.1%.
- Europe excluding France grew by +1.1%, primarily through solid performance in Central and Eastern Europe (up +2.2%), The UK and Ireland exhibited strong growth, with revenue up +5.4%, Northern Europe du Nord was down -3.1% due to a larger exposure to industrial services. Revenue in Southern Europe was stable despite the sharp impact of the sanitary crisis in Spain and in Italy.
- Rest of the World was down by -1.8% at constant exchange rates but up +2.2% at constant scope, due to the divestiture of TNAI in the U.S. end-2019. Asia continued to deliver solid growth (+6.9%) despite the sanitary crisis. North America was down by -20.4% but stable after restatement of the TNAI divestiture. Latin America grew by +12.3%. The Pacific region grew by +1.6%. Africa Middle East was up by +6.0%.
- Global businesses were down by -3.6%.
- EBITDA reached €970 million compared with €1,031 million in Q1 2019, a decrease of -2.9%1 and an increase of +4.8% excluding Covid2
- Current EBIT was €392 million compared with €484 million in Q1 2019, a decrease of -13.3%1 and an increase of +4.7%1 excluding Covid2
- Current net income Group share reached €121 million compared with €209 million in Q1 2019, down -29.3%1 excluding financial capital gains and up +3.9%1 excluding Covid2
- Net financial debt was down €431 million, at €11,531 million
- Outlook: due to the absence of visibility associated with the sanitary crisis, the 2020 objectives have been suspended. The Group has launched a specific cost savings plan of €200 million, which comes in addition to its annual objective of €250 million, in order to mitigate as much as possible the impact of the sanitary crisis. Veolia has also initiated a program to cut 2020 Capex by €500 million (i.e. 20% of the initial 2020 Capex budget) in order to limit the impact of the crisis on 2020 net free cash flow.
1 Variations at constant scope and forex
2 The estimated Covid impact corresponds to the direct and indirect consequences of the sanitary crisis (mainly lower volumes of activity, additional costs associated with the specific adaptation measures implemented) as measured by all the Business Units of the Group
> See the press release