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Sita parent reports 'strong performance' despite falling profit

Global waste and water giant Suez Environnement, parent company of Sita UK, reported a 22% drop in profit for 2012 because of the economic slowdown and an impairment on a water project in Australia.

The firm posted net income (group share) of €251m. EBITDA fell 2.5% to €2,450m. Current operating income, however, rose 10% to €1,146m.

The French firm claimed a strong performance in challenging circumstances, pointing to cost savings acceleration, an EBITDA margin at 16.2%, debt reduction and “outstanding” free cash flow generation of €1,358m.

Group revenue was up 1.8% to €15,102m.

It proposed a full-year dividend of 65 Euro cents a share.

In its European waste division, which includes Sita UK, Suez reported revenue up from €6,417m in 2011 to €6,542. EBITDA fell to €804m from €886m.

UK deindustrialisation, economic slowdown in construction and demolition, lower volumes and unfavourable commodity prices all hit the waste business, said Jean-Marc Boursier, chief financial officer for Suez. He cited average recovered paper prices down 20% on the previous year.

An EBITDA target of at least €2,550m and free cash flow or €1bn was set.

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