(Adds detail on Transdev, CEO)
PARIS Feb 27 French water and waste group
Veolia Environnement said it booked a 135 million euro
($184.5 million) net loss in 2013, reversing a 404 million
profit in 2012, partly due to goodwill impairment charges on its
The company said it took a 150 million euro goodwill
impairment in environmental services in Germany, and 141 million
in restructuring charges, including on its French water
There were also 73 million euros in costs related to the
early redemption of bonds, and its transport activities had a
loss of 51 million, primarily related to its mainland
France-Corsica ferry unit, SNCM.
"These charges will let us start 2014 with a clear horizon,"
Chief Executive Antoine Frerot said on a conference call.
The company said it would pay an unchanged dividend of 0.70
euros a share on 2013 earnings and the same amount on 2014
Net financial debt fell to 8.2 billion euros last year,
Frerot, whose mandate was renewed at a board meeting on
Wednesday after his position was challenged by minority
shareholder the Dassault family, said the board had wanted to
end the public discussion about his future by bringing forward
the decision on his confirmation.
"The board yesterday wanted to end the debates and the
rumours to give the company the serenity to complete its
restructuring," he said.
He declined to say whether the vote had been unanimous.
Frerot said business conditions at the start of 2014 were
similar to late last year, with prices and volumes mainly
stable. Its main competitor Suez Environnement had
made similar comments about the industry.
Frerot said he could not say when Veolia would sell part of
its stake in its Transdev transport unit to state holding
company CDC. Veolia and CDC each hold 50 percent of the unit.
He said a deal would have to wait for a solution for
Transdev's loss-making SNCM ferry unit, which CDC does not want
to take over.
"CDC still wants to take control of Transdev. It will do
that when the SNCM problem has been solved," the CEO said.
Frerot has repeatedly said Veolia will put no new funds into
SNCM. He said that if SNCM wants to avoid liquidation, a
solution needs to be found for the state subsidies that the
European Union competition authorities want SNCM to pay back.
"A viable solution for SNCM means protecting it from the
Brussels fines," he said.
($1 = 0.7317 euros)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan)