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Feb 28 (Reuters) - French water and waste group Veolia said on Friday it aimed to increase its core earnings in the next three years through more focused investments globally and a higher portfolio rotation.
The new strategy will focus on small and medium acquisitions of up to 500 million euros ($543.40 million) rather than large ones, Veolia’s chief executive Antoine Frerot said in an earnings call.
He added the impact of the coronavirus outbreak was now estimated at less than 1% of core earnings of the group, which has over 80 projects in more than 40 cities in China.
Its smaller peer Suez also flagged on Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak would hit its 2020 earnings.
Veolia, which delivers water, waste and energy management solutions across the globe, said it saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of around 4.1 billion euros this year. It said it targeted a rise to 4.7 billion to 4.9 billion, and net attributable group income of around 1 billion euros by 2023.
The group has recently been focusing more on areas such as treating toxic waste and recycling plastics and last month bought a hazardous waste treatment business in the United States.
Veolia’s EBITDA rose 4.5% to 4.02 billion euros in 2019, slightly above its own guidance of 3.9 billion to 4 billion euros.
The company also reported its net debt was significantly down to 10.68 billion euros and said it targeted cost savings of 1 billion euros over the next four years.
The firm also proposed to increase its dividend by 8.7% to 1.0 euro per share and said that by 2023 it would aim for 1.30 euros per share.
$1 = 0.9201 euros Reporting by Charles Regnier and Milla Nissi Editing by Tomasz Janowski