* Part of bid to increase revenues from industrial clients
* To invest up to 100 mln/year in toxic waste recycling
* Recycles lithium from batteries, vanadium from catalysts
* Little competition as most toxic waste is burned, buried
* Major opportunity to treat obsolete Soviet-era pesticides
(Ads detail on lithium, vanadium, iodine, pesticides recycling)
By Geert De Clercq
PARIS, April 25 Veolia Environnement
sees strong growth in toxic waste recycling and will keep
investing in plants to treat industrial solvents and old
batteries as it chases more sales from industrial clients.
The French water and waste group's toxic waste business
includes recycling lithium from batteries, vanadium from
industrial catalysts, and cutting oil or lubricant polluted by
Strong growth at the division should help Veolia meet its
goal of increasing sales to industrial clients to 50 percent
from 30 percent, with the rest made up of municipal authorities
that buy water and waste services.
The toxic waste division has a turnover of about 800 million
euros, and sales at the unit are expected to grow by 10 percent
per year in the next four to five years.
Chief Executive Officer Antoine Frerot told reporters on
Thursday that margins on toxic waste recycling were
significantly higher than at its other businesses, without
giving a precise figure, and he expected profit on this activity
to grow by 15 percent per year in the next few years.
The firm has been investing up to 100 million euros per year
in the toxic and specialty waste business, mostly in Europe, but
last year invested about 20 million euros in China in its first
plant in Tianjin.
Frerot said Veolia had won contracts to build toxic waste
recycling plants in seven Chinese provinces, including the
Veolia also plans facilities in Le Havre and Marseille in
France to recycle hydrocarbon dregs from refineries and ships
and polluted water from parking lots.
Veolia already collects more than 100,000 tonnes per year of
this kind of waste to be burned.
For the pharmaceutical industry, Veolia recycles iodine from
the production of diagnostic tracing agents and from garages and
car body work shops it recycles the solvents used to dilute car
paint and clean out equipment.
Veolia also said there was a massive opportunity to clean up
huge stocks of obsolete pesticides in several eastern European
countries and central Asia.
The firm has already treated 20,000 tonnes of pesticides in
Ukraine and has just signed a contract with NATO to treat 1500
tonnes from Moldova at Veolia's plant in Dabrowa, Poland.
Veolia said that stocks of pesticides produced during the
Soviet era total between 256,000 and 263,000 tonnes.
The company forms partnerships with the chemical,
pharmaceutical, automotive and other industries to collect and
treat the waste and resell the recycled products as raw
commodities or fuel.
"We aim to share the value with our clients. They give us
their waste products and they buy the recycled product from us,"
The company mostly gets the waste for free, but Frerot
expects that industries will increasingly view their waste
products as a commodity from which new products can be made.
Veolia estimates Europe produces some 35 million tonnes of
toxic waste, including water used in industrial processes, water
mixed with fuel, chemical or pharmaceutical industry effluents,
solvents, pesticides, PCB and batteries.
Veolia, which had a group turnover of 24.9 billion euros
last year, treats about 3 million tonnes of toxic waste per
year, less than 10 percent of the market, in sites in France,
Switzerland, the UK, Germany and eastern Europe.
Competition remains scarce, as most toxic waste is burned,
buried or stored on industrial sites, but European rivals
include Belgium's Indaver, France's Seche Environnment
, Suez Environnment unit Sita, and Germany's
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Helen