SUEZ reported revenue of €4,210m in first-quarter 2019, up 3.7% in organic terms. Group growth continues to be driven by increased business activity for the Water Technologies and Solutions (WTS) and International divisions, which posted organic revenue growth of 8.5% and 4.5%, respectively. In a favorable tariff environment, the Recycling & Recovery Europe division posted solid organic revenue growth of 4.7%. Volumes treated decreased slightly, the result of continued greater contract selectivity as to paper and certain plastics. Waste volumes in Europe are nevertheless expected to rise 1.5% in 2019. Water Europe business was stable as expected.
EBIT stood at €293m at March 31, 2019, up 3.3% in organic terms.
On a like-for-like accounting basis, debt remained practically stable from December 31st at €9,031m compared with €8,954m (+0.9%), and the debt ratio came out at 3.26x EBITDA on a 12-month rolling basis. This stability factors in the following three key items: seasonal growth in the WCR for €337m, an unfavorable currency effect for €124m and net proceeds from the disposal of a 20% stake in SUEZ Water Resources Inc. (USA) for €524m.
The Argentine government and SUEZ have concluded and implemented a transactional settlement agreement on Aguas Argentinas. For the SUEZ group, the cash amount received in April is €220m.
"With organic revenue growth of 3.7% and organic EBIT growth of 3.3% in the first quarter, we are off to a strong start in 2019. At each division, the strong mobilization of the teams is producing numerous commercial successes and bolstering business activity. For example, we were appointed preferred bidder by the City of Manchester for the treatment of waste of 2.3 million inhabitants, or one million tons of waste a year. In China, SUEZ has won three contracts in water management and recovery for a total of nearly €250m. In addition, I am delighted with the definitive resolution of arbitration with the Argentinian government in respect of the Buenos Aires water and sanitation concession. Overall, the performance achieved in the first quarter is in line with our forecast trajectory and we are confirming our guidance for 2019," said Jean-Louis Chaussade, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ.