Waste and water conglomerate Suez has reported revenue up by 13.8% in the first quarter of this year to €4bn compared with the same period a year earlier, despite a slump in paper prices.
Its results showed earnings before interest and tax stood at €289m, a 10.2% increase.
Suez said its Recycling and Recovery Europe division – which includes the UK – had revenue growth of posted 1.4%, equivalent to €21m.
This was bolstered by a 3.6% improvement in the volume of waste treated. But paper and cardboard prices had been hit by China’s decision to restrict imports, with prices described as “sharply negative” and down 37% relative to 2017.
In contrast, scrap metal prices rose by 20%.
Suez said it strengthened its UK presence with a contract win from Devon County Council for a transfer centre, six recycling stations and treatment of 46,000 tonnes a year of household waste from two districts.
The 10-year contract is worth about €68m (£59.5m) and may be extended for five years.
Results earlier this month from waste firm Veolia showed revenue growth of 7.0% to €6.4bn and earnings up by 5.3% to €876m.
It said this was driven by a good renewal rate of contracts in France, UK and Germany.
Revenues in the UK and Republic of Ireland increased by 4% to €518.2m, attributed to an increase in electricity tariffs, good PFI availability and contract wins.
Veolia also benefitted from improved availability of incineration plants although, like Suez’s experience, this growth had been “partially offset by lower paper prices”.