* Germany, Benelux waste volumes down 9.7 pct
* European waste still on downward trend at start of Q2
* Energy from waste business is growing
(Adds detail, background)
PARIS, April 22 Shrinking European industrial
output hit revenue at Suez Environnement's waste
business in the first quarter and the French group said there
was no sign of an improvement so far in April.
The water and waste group said on Monday its first-quarter
revenue fell 2.6 percent to 3.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion).
However, cost cuts lifted earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation 0.8 percent to 570 million euros.
"The European waste division has been affected by a decrease
in treated volumes, a direct consequence of the decline of
industrial production in Europe," chief executive Jean-Louis
Chaussade said in a statement.
Revenue from the firm's European waste division fell 4.6
percent to 1.58 billion euros, but revenue from its European
water business was up 3.3 percent to 1.04 billion euros.
Chief financial officer Jean-Marc Boursier said that at the
start of the second quarter, the European waste business
remained on the first-quarter downward trend.
"Looking at the first two weeks of April, we are still on a
downward slope of about four percent," Boursier said.
Suez Environnement, the world's second-largest water and
waste group after French peer Veolia, earns 69.7
percent of its revenue in Europe, with France accounting for
36.3 percent of total revenue and Spain 9.9 percent.
The European waste business was affected by negative
volumes, adverse weather conditions, and negative commodities
prices, Suez said.
The slowdown was the worst in the Benelux/Germany zone,
where revenue was down 9.7 percent. Sorting and recycling was
down due to negative price and volume effects, but the energy
recovery business was up thanks to strong volumes.
The company said it was building energy from waste units in
the UK and had signed a 25-year, 850-million-euro contract for
an energy-to-waste plant in Poznan, Poland, which was the
largest tender ever for a public-private partnership in Poland.
Suez maintained its financial forecasts for 2013, which are
based on stagnant growth in Europe. The firm said in February it
expects turnover and profit will grow this year. The company
will cut costs by at least 150 million euros this year.
Suez shares have more than halved since 2008, but have been
on an upward trend since the end of November, rising more than
25 percent to over 10 euros, from a low under 8 euros. The
firm's market capitalisation now stands at 5.02 billion euros.
In 2012, Suez Environnement's profit fell 22 percent to 251
($1 = 0.7644 euros)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter)