SUEZ and all our employees are fully focused on ensuring continuity of service in all the countries where we operate. Whether we provide drinking water, wastewater or waste management for municipalities and individuals, or high-quality water supply and treatment and waste management for vital industries, SUEZ can and will play a key role in ensuring public health protection. While ensuring the safety of its employees, SUEZ has implemented the necessary continuity plans in solidarity with governments, public sector and private sector clients, who have in turn been quick to set up support measures to help us deliver these vital services.
Turning to the impacts on our business:
- In China, we had already noted the impacts on our hazardous waste incinerators and on Macao water volumes on February 26th. Given the gradual return of activity that we continue to see, we confirm that the impacts specified on February 26th remain valid as of today: 30 to 40m€ on 2020 EBIT mainly in Q1 with a progressive return to a normal situation expected in the second quarter.
- In Europe and Americas, although government actions have been very recent, we are starting to see the first impacts, for example on volumes and commodity prices. This is not uniform and there are some geographic areas and also industrial sectors and clients where activity is normal.
- Even if it is too early to quantify the impact on our former 2020 guidance - today suspended - and to establish new ones, it is clear to us that, like all industries, we are likely to be significantly impacted in 2020 by the consequences of population containment. We are closely monitoring the situation and will update the market in due time as patterns become clearer.
We have already started to adapt to this outlook. We know that the Group’s transformation plan – Shaping SUEZ 2030 - drives a strong improvement starting this year in performance and profitability and greater selectivity in investment, and the plan is well engaged across the Group.
In the current context, in 2020 we have already engaged additional measures to optimize our activity and mitigate potential impacts on revenue and profitability, as well as to boost further the Group’s liquidity, whilst ensuring we maintain the best service and safety for our employees and clients:
- Take strong short-term measures to significantly reduce our expenses and costs, beyond what was originally planned.
- Constrain total investments this year by around 15% compared to 2019 levels whilst recognising that capex is necessary in some parts of our business to ensure our service levels.
In this context:
- In line with previous announcements, and given the strength and liquidity of its balance sheet, SUEZ will propose a 2019 dividend of €0.65 a share payable in May as planned.
- We also confirm that our AGM will be held as planned on Tuesday May 12, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. CET. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic context, and subject to confirmation of the regulatory texts, it will take place without the physical presence of shareholders and will be webcasted live on the SUEZ website.
Bertrand Camus ,Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ, said: "At the time the situation is improving in China, the Covid19 pandemic is spreading all over the world. The entire SUEZ Group is mobilized to keep operating its essential services in water and waste, which have a direct impact on health and quality of life of citizens. The Board joins me to thank all the teams who are focused on a daily basis, with professionalism and calm to accomplish their mission and further the transformation of our Group."