Suez Environnement First-Half Profit Rises Amid Adverse Economy

Suez Environnement (SEV), Europe’s second-biggest water company, reported first-half profit more than tripled even as waste volumes contracted in Europe because of an “adverse” economic environment.

Net income rose to 132 million euros ($175 million) from 40 million euros a year earlier after provisions taken last year including on a desalination project in Australia weren’t repeated, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Louis Chaussade said on a conference call.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or ebitda, at the Paris-based utility rose 7.2 percent to 1.21 billion euros, beating a 1.19 billion euro average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The utility, 34 percent-owned by GDF Suez (GSZ) SA, the former French gas monopoly, reiterated its earnings targets for the year. The company in February forecast ebitda of at least 2.55 billion euros, and a debt-to-ebitda ratio of about 3 for 2013. The utility also pledged to keep its dividend payout this year equal to or higher than the 65 euro cents a share it paid in 2012.

Suez Environnement and its larger rival Veolia Environnement SA (VIE) are seeing waste-treatment volumes decline as economic weakness in Europe hurts factory output. The utilities compete in France to provide municipal waste and water services.

Suez Environnement’s net debt was little changed at 7.833 billion euros, compared with the year earlier period, according to today’s statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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