Bloomberg News

Suez Environnement May Target Acquisitions as Rivals Sell Assets

November 15, 2011

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Suez Environnement, Europe’s second- biggest water company, may take advantage of asset sales by struggling rivals and low funding costs to make acquisitions during the economic slowdown.

“We should see a consolidation of the sector,” Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Boursier said at a conference in Paris today. “The duty of a CFO like myself is to be countercyclical.”

“Funding conditions remain attractive” and the cost of debt for “large A-rated corporates” has declined in the past three years, Boursier said.

Veolia Environnement SA has pledged to sell 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion) of assets this year as the world’s biggest water utility slims down amid slower economic growth.

“There will be forced sales” and “multiples will decline,” said the CFO of Paris-based Suez Environnement, which is 34 percent-owned by GDF Suez SA, France’s former natural-gas monopoly. “The concern is that profitability erosion may continue into 2012,” which “will be very difficult in Europe.”

--Editors: Stephen Cunningham, Alistair Reed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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