* Net profit 394 mln euros, reversing 490 million loss
* Acquisitions ruled out; European waste market seen slow
* CEO says 2013 focus will be on cost cuts
* Shares up more than one percent in high-volume trade
(Updates with additional comment, market reaction)
By Benjamin Mallet and Geert De Clercq
PARIS, Feb 28 Veolia Environnement, the
world's leading water and waste group, plans to step up efforts
to reduce debts left over from an acquisition spree and focus on
growing organically in emerging markets.
Chief executive officer Antoine Frerot said on Thursday that
major takeovers were a thing of the past. He also said the
French company would accelerate cost cuts in mature markets to
free up money for investment elsewhere.
"Our group is now freeing up capital for its repositioning
in growth markets," Frerot said on Thursday.
Veolia already earns about a third of its turnover in
high-growth markets, a share that should grow to 50 percent in
five year's time.
In Europe, waste markets are depressed by slow economic
growth, while in France's water markets cash-strapped local
governments have put margins under pressure.
The company, whose debt peaked at 16.5 billion euros ($21.6
billion) in 2008 as it built up its empire via M&A deals, wants
to cut leverage further this year, reducing net financial debt
to 8-9 billion euros from 11.3 billion at the end of December.
It plans to end 2013 with net debt on an adjusted basis of
6-7 billion euros.
The utility, which is withdrawing from half the countries in
which it operates, completed asset sales totalling 3.7 billion
euros in 2012.
The group is the world's largest private supplier of drinking
water - providing water for 100 million people worldwide, and
treating waste water for 71 million people.
For 2012, the company reported a net attributable profit of
394 million euros, reversing a 490 million loss in 2011. The
dividend was left unchanged at 70 cents per share.
Revenue rose 3 percent to 29.4 billion euros from sales
restated to include the effect of divestments and acquisitions.
The company expects organic growth to be about the same amount
Veolia's shares were up about 1.0 percent by 1608 GMT after
rising more than 6 percent earlier in the session in the
heaviest trading volume since the start of the year.
The shares are up about 5 percent so far this year. They
hit a low of 7.4 euros in November, when they were down 89
percent from a high of 65.6 euros in 2007.
($1 = 0.7628 euro)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by
Dan Lalor and Jane Merriman)