Higher prices for secondary raw materials and treatment services significantly boosted Suez's waste management revenues in the first quarter of 2021. According to the quarterly earnings statement, revenues in the “Recycling & Recovery” division, which houses the environmental services concern's waste activities, climbed by 8 per cent to €1.99bn. At constant scope and currency, division revenues jumped by around 12 per cent; within Europe, organic growth reached almost 14 per cent. In the first quarter of 2020, the division's sales had stood at €1.84bn.
All in all, Suez CEO Bertrand Camus considered his group's first quarter results to be "excellent", not just in comparison to the prior-year period, but also in comparison to the first quarter of pre-Covid 2019. "The group recorded solid organic growth, strong improvement in profitability, and very good cash generation, all of which are at historically high levels for a first quarter," said Mr Camus. All of Suez's business segments were growing. "Our Recycling & Recovery activities in particular are reaping the benefits of a solid price dynamic and an increase in the volume of waste processed in Europe". However, the growth in waste volumes had been weaker in France than elsewhere in the region, according to the group's quarterly earnings report.
In the first three months of the year, Suez generated consolidated revenues of €4.31bn, an increase of 3 per cent from the first quarter of 2020 when the company posted sales of around €4.20bn. Earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) improved by 47 per cent from €231m to €340m. The group saw its performance in the first quarter as proof that it was well positioned to achieve its objectives for 2021.
Negotiations on the final terms of Suez's acquisition by its competitor Veolia were ongoing, Suez said. The two companies had set 14 May as the deadline for reaching a definitive agreement.