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Veolia Environment

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Veolia Environment

Veolia Environnement S.A.
Société Anonyme
Traded as VE
Industry Environmental services
Founded 1853
Headquarters Paris, France
Key people Antoine Frérot (Chairman and CEO)
Services Water treatment, waste management, HVAC, street lighting, facility management services, outsourced public transportation services
Revenue 29.439 billion (2012)[1]
Operating income €1.095 billion (2012)[1]
Profit €394 million (2012)[1]
Total assets €50.405 billion (end 2011)[1]
Total equity €9.125 billion (end 2012)[1]
Employees 318,376 (FTE, end 2012)[1]

Veolia Environnement S.A. is a French transnational company (TNC) with activities in four main service and utility areas traditionally managed by public authorities - water supply and water management, waste management, energy and transport services. In 2012, Veolia employed 318,376 employees in 48 countries. Its revenue in that year was recorded at €29.4 billion.[2] It is quoted on Euronext Paris and the New York Stock Exchange. It is headquartered in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.[3]

Between 2000 and 2003 the company was known as Vivendi Environnement, having been spun off from the Vivendi conglomerate, most of the rest of which became Vivendi. Prior to 1998 Vivendi was known as Compagnie Générale des Eaux.


1853-1997: Compagnie Générale des Eaux

On December 14, 1853, a water company named Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE) was created by an Imperial decree of Napoleon III. In 1853, CGE obtained a concession in order to supply water to the public in Lyon, serving in this capacity for over a hundred years. In 1860, it obtained a 50-year concession with the City of Paris.[4]

For a hundred years, Compagnie Générale des Eaux remained largely focused on the water sector. However, following the appointment of Guy Dejouany as CEO in 1976, CGE extended its activities into other sectors with a series of takeovers. Beginning in 1980, CGE began diversifying its operations from water into waste management, energy, transport services, and construction and property. It acquired the "Compagnie Générale d'Entreprises Automobiles" (CGEA), specialized in industrial vehicles, which was later divided into two branches: Connex and Onyx Environnement. CGE then acquired the "Compagnie Générale de Chauffe", and later the Montenay group. The Energy Services division these companies became part of was later (1998) renamed "Dalkia".

CGE's expansion into communication commenced with the establishment of Canal+ in 1983, the first Pay-TV channel in France. This expansion was accelerated after Jean-Marie Messier succeeded Guy Dejouany on June 27, 1996. In 1996, CGE created Cegetel to take advantage of the 1998 deregulation of the French telecommunications market, accelerating the move into the media sector which would culminate in the 2000 demerger into Vivendi Universal and Vivendi Environnement.

1998-2003: Vivendi

Main article: Vivendi SA

In 1998, Compagnie Générale des Eaux changed its name to Vivendi, and sold off its property and construction divisions the following year.

Vivendi went on to list on the New York Stock Exchange (as "V"), and in December, announced a major merger with Canal+ and Seagram, the owner of Universal Studios film company, to become Vivendi Universal and now named Vivendi.

In July 2000, Vivendi spun off the remaining water and waste companies into Vivendi Environnement (IPO in Paris in July 2000 and in New York in October 2001), later (2003) renamed Veolia Environnement.

2003 – present: Veolia

In 2003, Vivendi Environnement became Veolia Environnement. In 2005, the name “Veolia” was established as an umbrella brand for all of the Group’s divisions (water, environmental services, energy services and transport) and a new logo was created.[4]

In November 2009, Antoine Frérot has become the Chairman and the CEO of the Group after succeeding Henri Proglio who has been appointed CEO of Électricité de France. The change has been part of a huge politico-financial scandal in France[5][6] as Proglio kept executive positions - and subsequent salary - in both companies until public criticism forced him to give up his Veolia revenues.

Its Veolia Water division remains the largest private operator of water services in the world.

In March 2011 the company announced the birth of Veolia Transdev, the result of the combination of its transport subsidiary Veolia Transport with Transdev, a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts. Veolia Transdev is the world's private-sector leader in sustainable mobility with more than 110,000 employees in 28 countries.[7]

In July 2011, amid disappointing financial results, the company announced the launch of new restructuring plans and redeployment of assets and businesses.[8] In December 2011, Veolia announced a €5bn divestment program over 2012-2013.[9] The company would comprise only three divisions (Water, Environmental Services and Energy Services). The transport businesses Veolia Transdev would be divested.

Major divisions and subsidiaries

Veolia Water

Main article: Veolia Water

Veolia Water is the world leader in water services. It handles water and wastewater services for clients in the public sector and in various industries. It also creates and constructs the required technology and infrastructure. In 2012, Veolia Water employed 89,094 people and recorded revenue of €12.078 billion[10] 37.2% of its revenue comes from France, 30.2 from other European countries, 8.8% from Americas, 16.2% from Asia and 7.6% from Africa and Middle-Est.

Veolia Environmental Services

Veolia Environmental Services is second in the world in waste management services. In addition to environmental and logistics services, it treats and converts hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The goal: decrease pollutants in waste to lessen its environmental effects, and promote waste recycling and recovery. The company employs 64,291 staff and had 2012 revenues recorded at €9.083 billion[11] (France 39%, other European countries 38%, USA 9%, Asia-Pacific 12%, other countries 2%).

Veolia Energy (Dalkia)

Main article: Dalkia

Veolia Energy (Dalkia) strives to maximise facilities’ energy and environmental efficiency. Its services include maintaining and managing heating and cooling systems, making plants more energy efficient, and selecting the most adapted energies. In 2012, Dalkia employed 49,824 employees and recorded revenue of €7.664 billion[12] (France 42%, Continental Europe 24 %, Southern Europe 14.5%, Northern Europe 8%, North America 3%, China 1.5 %, other countries 7%).

Veolia Energy (North America)

Veolia Energy (North America) is the largest operator and developer of efficient district energy (heating, cooling and cogeneration) systems in North America, located in ten major U.S. cities. It also provides facility operations, energy management, and advisory services. Until February 2011, this division operated under the Trigen Energy brand name.[13][14]

Veolia Transdev

Main article: Veolia Transdev

Veolia Transdev was formed in 2011 from a merger of Veolia Transport with Transdev, a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts.[7] Before the merger, Veolia Transport recorded revenues of €7.863 billion in 2011 (For 2010 : Europe 83%, included France 37.1%, North America 13.2%, Asia-Pacific 3.7%). It employed 101,798 people. It worked with public authorities under public-private partnerships to manage public transit systems (buses, trains, metros, ferries, etc.).[15] On December 6, 2011 Veolia Environment, seeking to reduce debt and focus on its core businesses of water, waste and energy, announced that it will eventually sell its share in Veolia Transdev, within a two-year time frame, by when its own activities will have been reorganized. After this announcement, the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, for its part, officially reiterated its commitment to Veolia Transdev and its continued support as a shareholder to the group's development.[16] In early 2012 it was reported that Cube Infrastructure, a fund controlled by the French bank Natixis (Groupe BPCE), was likely to acquire about half of Veolia's stake in Transdev. The Caisse des Dépôts would take over the other half.[17] In 2012, Veolia Transdev employed 7 566 people and recorded revenue of € 7.566 billion.

Veolia in September 2009 agreed to sell part of its share in the project to the Dan Bus Company for $15–20 million.[18] The sale was however unsuccessful, and Veolia agreed in October 2010 to sell its stake to Egged instead. As a result, Dan sued Veolia.[19] As of December 2011, the sale to Egged was reported to have been held up by the Israeli state. Egged will however need Veolia's expertise for at least five years to run the light rail successfully.

Around the world

Veolia Environnement is established in 48 countries, with employees across the globe in 2012:

  • France: 31%
  • Europe (not including France, Central and Eastern European countries): 23%
  • Central and Eastern Europe countries : 13%
  • Asia-Pacific: 12%
  • South America: 10%
  • Africa and Middle-East: 6%
  • North America: 5%

Veolia Environnement has 2,573 subsidiaries around the world.[20]

Operating events

West Carrollton plant explosion

On May 4, 2009, a Veolia Environmental Service's plant in West Carrollton, Ohio exploded. The blast leveled two buildings on the property which were a laboratory and a building that had several 200,000 gallon chemical tanks. This particular plant handles fuel blending among other services. Two workers at the plant were injured in the blast.[21] The explosion caused $50 million in damage to the plant itself. More than a dozen homes up to a mile radius from the blast were also damaged due to the explosion.

Fatal accident in Gatlinburg

Two workers died after a catastrophic mechanical failure in April 2011 at a waste water treatment plant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee owned by the local municipality and operated by Veolia Water. At least 1.5 million gallons of a mix of storm and sewage water were spilled into a nearby river after a sewage-holding wall collapsed.[22]

Financial information

On December 31, 2012 shares in Veolia Environnement were held as follows: 9.3% by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (primary shareholder), followed by Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault (6.3%), Groupama (5.42%), Velo Investissement (4.73%), Électricité de France (4.22%), Veolia Environment (2.73%). Public and other institutional investors the remaining 67.3%.[23]

Veolia issued two profit warnings in 2011 and announced plans to quit half of the 77 countries where it does business. It launched a €5bn ($6.4bn) fire sale of assets. The company and its top executives were facing the prospect of a US class-action lawsuit in January 2012 over allegations that they made “misleading” statements between 2007 and 2011 about its financial well-being. The company, which was described as "struggling" by the Financial Times, said that a complaint had been filed against it in New York for violation of US federal securities laws. Veolia's shares were the worst performer on France’s CAC 40 index in 2011, falling 60%.[24]

The following is a summary of data (in millions of euros):[1][25][26][27]

Financial data in millions of euros
Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Consolidated revenue 30,078 28,603 24,673 25,245 28,620 31,574 35,765 27,847 28,704 29,647 29,439
Operating income 1,971 1,751 1,617 1,893 2,222 2,461 1,960 1,788 1,982 1,017 1,095
Net income 339 -2,054 125 622 759 928 405 559 558 -489 394
Stakeholder equity N/A 6,300 5,600 N/A N/A 10,191 9,532 10,131 10,804 9,835 9,125
Free cash-flow -1,525 168 694 555 901 906 -1,809 -1,344 409 438 3,673
Net financial debt 13,066 11,804 13,059 13,871 14,674 15,125 16,528 15,128 15,218 14,730 11,283
Staff 271,153 298,498 319,502 336,013 312,590 315,261 331,266 318,376

Stock market data

Data for Veolia Environnment, as listed on the New York Stock Exchange.[28]

  • Market capitalisation on December 31, 2010: $15.27 billion

On the Paris Bourse (the Paris stock exchange), Veolia Environnement is part of the CAC 40 index of shares.

  • Number of shares outstanding on December 31, 2012: 522,086,849
  • Market capitalisation on September 14, 2012: €4.98 billion

Sustainability, corporate communications and sponsorship

The company’s sustainable development activities are diverse. Because it operates in four sectors with a huge potential impact on the environment, both the risks and opportunities presented by sustainable development activities are substantial. The company’s sustainability efforts are furthered by its Foundation and Institute which emphasize innovation and research.[29]

The Veolia Environnement Foundation

The Veolia Environnement Foundation supports non-profit activities related to sustainable development, professional continuous development and the protection of the environment in France and overseas. The Foundation supports projects through financial aid and voluntary services provided by its employees. It also supports emergency relief operations in collaboration with humanitarian organisations.[30]

Following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, the Veolia Foundation dispatched 30 tons of emergency supplies (mainly water treatment units) via French Red Cross air transportation. The Foundation also sent Veolia technical experts to provide water to the disaster’s victims.[31]

Institut Veolia Environnement

The Institut Veolia Environnement was created in 2001 to provide insights into major global challenges such as climate change, urbanisation and various economic, social and cultural issues related to the environment. The institute is built around a committee that brings together 7 experts and an international network of researchers and experts. Its activities include organising conferences and publishing articles and reports.[32]

Boycott controversies

In February 2011 the Tower Hamlets London Borough Council of the London borough of Tower Hamlets London voted to review its position with Veolia and place no further contracts with it, after claiming that Veolia's work for the Israeli government assisted the "continued oppression of the Palestinian people".[33]

The Justice and Peace Commission, part of the Catholic Church in England, urged London municipalities to stop doing business with Veolia because of its involvement with illegal settlements.[34] Veolia denied wrongdoing.[35]

Palestinian human-rights organization Al-Haq instructed lawyers in the Netherlands to submit a formal objection against the decision of Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen, a municipality, to award a public transport concession to Hermes, the Dutch subsidiary of Veolia Transdev. The objection was based on Veolia’s involvement in what Al-Haq claims are Israel’s violations of international law.[36]

In a 2012 interview with the Israeli press, Veolia's Denis Gasquet, senior executive vice president, admitted that Veolia had been under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups in Europe, particularly over the Jerusalem Light Rail. Parties within Veolia had argued that the group was losing tenders as a result, but Gasquest said he did not know of any tenders lost due to Veolia's activities in Israel. He confirmed Veolia's intention to stay in Israel, while exiting the transport business.[37]

Research and development

As of December 31, 2009, the Group’s research and development investments reached €89.8 million (€92.1 million in 2008, €84.6 million in 2007).

The Research and Innovation division includes 850 experts and supports around 200 scientific partnerships with private and public organisations. The division focuses on four main issues:

  • Manage and preserve natural resources
  • Control impacts on natural environments
  • Care for health and living environments
  • Develop alternative sources of energy[38]


Veolia Environnement’s R&I division has determined 9 main development programmes through which a number of research projects are managed:

  • Waste collection, sorting, and beneficial re-use
  • Sustainable city and building management
  • Energy efficiency
  • Transport
  • Environmental and health standards
  • New activities
  • Bioresources
  • Drinking water
  • Waste water[39]

Veolia Innovation Accelerator

To boost and accelerate the innovation process, Veolia Environnement has established the Veolia Innovation Accelerator initiative.[40] This is a programme for the identification and support of the best technologies (also called “cleantechs”) within the most innovative start-up companies in the industry.

See also

Paris portal
Companies portal


External links

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