Veolia has announced a divestment programme to slash its debts by £2.5bn - but its UK waste and energy operations are not included.
The French multinational, one of the leading waste management firms in the UK, said it will sell off €5bn (£4.3bn) of assets following a series of profit warnings and a credit downgrading. There has been mounting concern from investors over the company’s €14.7bn net debt.
The sell-off will include the company’s three British water companies - Veolia Water Central, Southeast and East - and its 50% stake in the public transport company Transdev which owns London Sovereign bus operator. Veolia said it will also pull out of half the 77 countries it currently operates in.
The firm said it has no plans to sell its UK waste or energy operations.
The company manages waste for around 50m people worldwide and has around 65,000 UK customers. It employs 12,000 people in Britain, and in 2010 had revenue of £1.2bn.
Antoine Frérot, Veolia chairman and CEO said the divestment plan will: “drive a profound transformation of our company in order to adapt to the current economic and financial environment and to quickly position Veolia Environnement to capture the most attractive growth opportunities.”