Suez is preparing a severe course fitness

Less fat, more muscle. This is the objective of the fitness plan 'Shaping Suez 2030", prepared by the new director-general of the French giant in the water tr

Suez is preparing a severe course fitness

Less fat, more muscle. This is the objective of the fitness plan 'Shaping Suez 2030", prepared by the new director-general of the French giant in the water treatment and waste. Less than five months after taking office, Camus presents this Wednesday, to investors, gathered in Paris, an ambitious strategic plan. In addition to his vision for ten years, the successor of Jean-Louis Chaussade, became non-executive chairman of the group on 14 may of last year, announcement of decisive measures to transform the group.

" READ ALSO - Camus: "Suez must go fast in the implementation of its strategic plan"

The engineer of the Ponts & Chaussées, 51 years of age, present in the group since 1994, participated in the reality on his plan for one year: president, Africa, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific of Suez, he was candidate for the post of director-general. He was an outsider, but his vision and his project appealed to the board of directors, who chose the end of December from four other internal candidates.

Bertrand Camus had to finalize its strategic plan under a pressure stronger than expected. A week of the publication of half-year results last July, the fund Amber Capital, which owns 1.9% of the shares of Suez, has sent a letter to the board of directors of the group calling for a "rethinking" of the strategy in order to raise the Stock price. The action shows a stability over the last three years. Camus met with the representatives of the fund activist this summer, and he had to take account of their requirements.

Carry out acquisitions

The director-general has also been able to count on the support of influential members of its board of directors to accept a strategic plan that others felt to be too ambitious. The name "Shaping Suez 2030" evokes the change and the change of shape of the group, which must allow "to improve the creation of value for all stakeholders". Not question of having the objective of revenue growth at any price. The group will focus on the activities generating the most added value, without hesitating to assign the activities do not correspond to this definition. 3 to 4 billion euros of divestments are planned over the next four years. They may relate to historical activities of the group such as waste collection, where margins are lower than in the treatment.

A part of the fruit of the disposals will be reinvested to successfully carry out acquisitions. Suez aims of new technologies - this branch must spend 20% of sales to 30% in 2030 - but also the geographies of the new. The growth will more - or much less - to take place in Europe, but in China, Australia or the United States. The proportion between activities in Europe and outside of Europe, today 60%-40%, must be reversed by 2030. The clientele of the businesses for which environmental efforts are no longer a vain word, but a priority for real, will also be referred to in particular.

't of social drama in order

Last but not the least, in order to improve the results: a massive plan of savings is going to be put in place. It amounts to 1 billion euros over four years, of which 45% to 50% should materialize by 2021. This is a large sum for a group that achieves 17 billion euros of turnover. Suez highlights the procurement and real estate as the main sources of these economies. Hard to imagine that this will happen without any removal job. But the retirements, many in the years to come, should enable the plan without social drama.

he gives a long-term vision and a clear strategy in the medium term, by 2023, "Shaping Suez 2030" sets specific targets for 2021. This proves that the boss of Suez, a sense of urgency to right the course of the Exchange. The group aims to 2021 an underlying earnings per share of 0.8 euro, which represents an increase of nearly 43% compared to that of 2018. The performance in terms of net cash flow ("free cash flow") is even more important, since it must pass the 95 million last year to eur 500 million by 2021. Finally, net debt is expected to remain between 2.8 and 3 times the gross operating surplus (Ebitda), a multiple similar to the current level.

Updated Date: 03 October 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees

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