SUEZ: 2007 Results: Net income Group Share: EUR 3.9 Billion



    PARIS, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - The SUEZ Board of Directors meeting February 25,
2008, chaired by Gerard Mestrallet, approved the Group's results for financial
year 2007. The accounts will be submitted for approval to the Annual General
Shareholders' Meeting, May 6, 2008.

    
    Further improvement in operating performance and profitability

    -   EBITDA:                      EUR 7.9 billion (+12.4%)
    -   Current operating income:    EUR 5.2 billion (+15.1%)
    -   Net income Group share:      EUR 3.9 billion (+8.8%)
    -   Net earnings per share:      EUR 3.09 (+8.1%)
    -   Dividend per share:          EUR 1.36 (+13.3%)
    -   ROCE:                        13.7% (versus 13% in 2006)
    -   Investments:                 EUR 6.1 billion (EUR 3.9 bn. in 2006)

    A sound, balanced, sustainable value and job-creating business model

    -   Sharp acceleration in industrial development:
        -  Investments were up +60% over 2006
        -  Developments in electricity, renewable energy, natural gas, and
           LNG production
        -  26,500 new hires in 2007, of whom more than 10,000 in France and
           nearly 3,800 in Belgium

    -   Continued dynamic shareholder remuneration policy:
        -  Proposed +13.3% increase in 2007 ordinary dividend
        -  Growth in ordinary dividends/share since 2003: +70%
        -  Share buy-back program (EUR 1.1 billion for the year 2007)

    -   2008 performance targets:
        -  EBITDA growth approximately 10%(1)
        -  Accelerated industrial development
        -  New dividend increase for 2008, continued share buyback program
           (EUR 300 million until the end of first semester 2008)

    -   Growth outlook strengthened by the Gaz de France proposed merger:
        -  Post-merger EBITDA target: EUR 17 billion by 2010(1)
        -  Merger completion during first-half 2008
    

    Gerard Mestrallet, SUEZ Chairman and CEO, commented: "By presenting
strong results growth in 2007 that exceeded our targets, SUEZ has demonstrated
once again the strength and effectiveness of its business model and capacity
to create shareholder value. In contrast with the uncertain business and
financial climate, the long-term pattern of growth of the Group's businesses
enables an ambitious development strategy. This strategy is based on
top-flight industrial positions, on markets offering a high degree of
predictability and on the well-known know-how of its teams. The proposed
project with Gaz de France strengthens SUEZ' capacity to combine sustained
growth, financial discipline, and recurring profitability."

    2007 Results Analysis

    The Group registered another record-breaking performance in 2007.
    Ever expanding markets, abundant commercial successes, and balanced
contributions to net income growth from every business line provide a clear
picture of future Group performance.

    Revenues: EUR 47.5 billion, +7%

    During 2007, SUEZ recorded sustained growth in business activity, with
revenues at EUR 47.5 billion. Organic revenue growth increased +6.2% over 2006
(+7.2% excluding climate effect.(2)). Each business line made a significant
contribution to organic growth.

    Strong growth in current operating income

    At EUR 5,175 million, current operating income reached historically high
levels, up sharply both in terms of total and organic growth (+15.1% and 
+10.5% respectively).
    This record is due to improved profitability from electricity activities
in Europe, the performance of North American LNG activities, and expanding
electricity sales in Latin America. The energy services and environment
businesses recorded results with continuous improvement in operating profit.
    Income from operating activities was stable at EUR 5.4 billion, despite
lower gains from disposals. In 2006, disposals generated capital gains of
EUR 1.1 billion, versus EUR 0.3 billion for 2007 (in particular, Agbar's sale
of Applus, Electrabel's disposal of shares in the Walloon and Brussels
inter-municipal companies, and the sale of 3% of Electrabel's share in Elia).

    Net income Group share: EUR 3.9 billion

    Net income Group share came to EUR 3.9 billion (compared with EUR
3.6 billion in 2006), an 8.8% increase, as a result mainly of recognition of
deferred losses (EUR 500 million positive impact) resulting from the sale of
SUEZ-Tractebel to Electrabel.
    Recurring net income grew 12.3%.

    Further improvement in Group profitability

    Return on capital employed (ROCE) increased to 13.7%, versus 13% at
year-end 2006.

    Increased liquidity generation, accelerated industrial development, sound
financial structure

    Net cash flow increased +16.5% to EUR 4 billion.

    In 2007, the Group made industrial and financial investments of EUR
6.1 billion, a +60% increase over 2006 totals. SUEZ applies stringent
investment criteria. Among its 2007 investments were several renewable energy
projects (acquisitions of Compagnie du Vent in France, Ventus Energy in
Canada, and wind farm operations in Portugal), traditional energy projects
(Germany, the Netherlands), an increase in its Gas Natural stake, as well as
the squeeze out of Electrabel.
    At December 31, 2007, net debt stood at EUR 13.1 billion, including
EUR 0.9 billion in connection with the Agbar tender offer launched jointly
with Caixa Criteria. This operation, begun in 2007 and finalized in early
2008, was a clear success. The change in debt level reflects accelerated
investments, a dynamic shareholder remuneration policy (EUR 1.9 billion for
dividends and EUR 1.1 billion for the share buyback program), and strong
liquidity generation from operating activities.

    Outlook

    The Group enjoys excellent prospects. The effectiveness of the SUEZ
business strategy is supported by accelerated changes in the businesses where
the Group is present and by Europe's energy price dynamics. These latter are
principally a function of higher fossil fuel prices, growing environmental
concerns, new infrastructure requirements, and energy supply security
considerations.

    Ambitious 2008 objectives

    Based on its commercial successes and particularly promising growth
prospects for all its businesses, the Group has established ambitious
financial objectives for 2008:

    
    -   EBITDA growth in the +10% range

    -   More investment in 2008 than in 2007

    -   Pursuit of share buyback program (EUR 300 million till the end of
        first semester 2008)

    -   Maintenance of an "A" credit rating

    -   Another dividend increase for 2008 and a policy of higher dividend
        payouts than 50% of recurring net income.
    

    Acceleration in industrial investments

    The Group's objective for 2008 is to exceed level of investment in 2007.

    These investments will respect the Group's stringent financial discipline
(maintain an "A" rating for medium-term debt and observe strict in-house
investment criteria) and will focus principally on renewable and conventional
electricity generating capacity, mainly in Europe, Latin America, and North
America.

    Continued dynamic shareholder remuneration policy

    Given 2007 results and a favorable outlook for each of the Group's
businesses, the Board of Directors decided at its February 25, 2008 meeting to
recommend to the May 6, 2008 Annual General Shareholders' Meeting an ordinary
dividend of EUR 1.36 for 2007, representing an increase of +13.3% over the
dividend paid for 2006.
    Continuous dividend increases since 2003 (+70%) reflect the Group's
dynamic shareholder remuneration program, in step with its profit trend,
offering a return on investment that is competitive with the entire sector.
    Since 2007 this dividend payout policy has been matched with share
buyback programs that will be continued in 2008.

    5-year recruitment program to hire 110,000 new employees

    The Group intends to hire 110,000 new employees between 2008 and 2012,
including 52,000 in France and 10,000 in Belgium. This active hiring policy
responds to trends in SUEZ businesses, to anticipated structural changes in
operations' requirements, and the necessity to match Group resources to
customer needs.
    This comprehensive recruitment program reflects the Group's confidence in
a future where it will hire, invest, and share the fruits of its performance
with employees. The program positions SUEZ as one of Europe's leading
recruiters.

    A future bolstered by the Gaz de France merger

    The Group's promising outlook is fortified by its Gaz de France merger
project. GDF SUEZ will be a leading global player in energy and public
utilities industry leader.
    Throughout 2007, SUEZ and Gaz de France continued their active
development efforts. Even before considering the merger's operational
synergies, their 2007 performances bear out the profitability of their
respective business activities.
    Already, a joint GDF SUEZ integration team is at work to ensure the new
Group will be operational from the first day of the merger, scheduled for
first-half 2008.

    
    GDF SUEZ has set performance targets to match its ambitions:

    -   EUR 17 billion in EBITDA by 2010(1)

    -   10% to 15% average annual growth in dividends per share for dividends
        paid between 2007(3) and 2010

    -   Strong "A" credit rating.
    

    Results for 2007 will be transmitted live Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at
8:30 a.m. (Paris time) and thereafter will be available on the SUEZ Website:
http://www.suez.com

    SUEZ, an international industrial and services Group, designs sustainable
and innovative solutions in the management of public utilities as a partner of
public authorities, businesses and individuals. The Group aims to answer
essential needs in electricity, natural gas, energy services, water and waste
management. SUEZ is listed on the Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris and Zurich stock
exchanges and is represented in the major international indices: CAC 40,
BEL 20, DJ STOXX 50, DJ EURO STOXX 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI
Europe and ASPI Eurozone. The Group employs 149,000 people worldwide and
achieved revenues of EUR47.5 billion in 2007, 89% of which were generated in
Europe and in North America.

    Important Information

    This document does not constitute an offer to purchase or exchange or the
solicitation of an offer to sell or exchange any securities of SUEZ or Gaz de
France, nor shall there be any purchase, sale or exchange of securities in any
jurisdiction (including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan) in which
such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale or exchange would be unlawful prior
to the registration or qualification under the laws of such jurisdiction. The
distribution of this communication may, in some countries, be restricted by
law or regulation. Accordingly, persons who come into possession of this
document should inform themselves of and observe these restrictions. To the
fullest extent permitted by applicable law, SUEZ disclaims any responsibility
or liability for the violation of such restrictions by any person.
    The Gaz de France ordinary shares which would be issued in connection
with the proposed business combination set out in this document to holders of
SUEZ ordinary shares (including SUEZ ordinary shares represented by SUEZ
American Depositary Shares) may not be offered or sold in the United States
except pursuant to an effective registration statement under the United States
Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or pursuant to a valid exemption from
registration.
    In connection with the proposed business combination, and as far as
necessary, the required information documents will be filed with the Autorite
des marches financiers ("AMF") and, if applicable, the United States
Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC").

    Forward-looking statements

    This document contains forward-looking information and statements. These
statements include financial projections, synergies, cost-savings and
estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans,
objectives, savings, expectations and benefits from the transaction and
expectations with respect to future operations, products and services, and
statements regarding future performance. Although the managements of SUEZ
believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements
are reasonable, investors and holders of SUEZ ordinary shares are cautioned
that forward-looking information and statements are not guarantees of future
performances and are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which
are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of SUEZ, that could
cause actual results, developments, synergies, savings and benefits from the
transaction to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or
projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and
uncertainties include those discussed or identified in the public filings made
by SUEZ with the AMF, including those listed under "Facteurs de Risques" in
the Document de Reference filed by SUEZ on April 4, 2007 (under no:
D.07-0272). Except as required by applicable law, SUEZ does not undertake any
obligation to update any forward-looking information or statements.

    
            This press release is also available on the Internet:
                             http://www.suez.com



    2007 Highlights

    SUEZ Energy Europe

    -   Electrabel acquisition of several wind farms in Portugal (at
        Mourisca, Fafe, and Nave) with total capacity of 100 MW.

    -   Acquisition of Compagnie du Vent (France).

    -   Decision to invest in 5 power plants in the Netherlands and Germany.

    -   Confirmation by IAEA's OSART mission of the Tihange power plant's
        excellent safety level.

    -   Joint development by Volvo and Electrabel of first CO(2)-free
        emissions plant.

    -   Agreement between Honda and Electrabel for installation of close to
        70,000 square feet of photovoltaic cells at the Honda site at Alost.

    -   Development of 2 cogeneration power plants in partnership with
        Lanxess and Degussa.

    -   Final agreement on cable activity disposal.

    -   Further increase of Distrigas sales outside Belgium (France,
        Netherlands, Germany)

    -   1st LNG delivery of Qatar in Zeebrugge within the framework of the
        long term contract (20 years) signed between the Qatari producer
        RasGas II and Distrigas

    -   1,000th LNG load by Distrigas in Zeebrugge

    SUEZ Energy International

    -   Acquisition of a 51% equity stake in Bahia Las Minas, Panama's
        largest thermoelectric power generation company, with total installed
        capacity of 280 MW; conversion of a 100 MW fuel oil unit to coal with
        an extension of 83 MW under construction.

    -   Start of construction of the Sao Salvador hydroelectric power plant
        (241 MW) and Estreito (1,086 MW) in Brazil.

    -   Awards for the financing of the Barka 2-Rusail projects in Oman, Hidd
        in Bahrain, and Marafiq in Saudi Arabia for a total of USD
        5.5 billion.

    -   Acquisition of Ventus Energy, the Canadian wind farm development
        company with 29 MW of power in operation, 178 MW under construction,
        and 2,000 MW in development.

    -   Signing of contract to provide the City of Dallas 150 MW of
        electricity (equivalent to 90% of the municipality's electricity
        consumption), nearly half of which from renewable energy sources.

    -   Contract to construct a 5.5 million m3 capacity LNG regasification
        terminal at Mejillones in northern Chile.

    -   Contract to construct 2 coal-fired 150 MW power plants in Chile to
        supply mining customers (Codelco and Antofagasta Minerais).

    -   Construction of a new 193 MW gas turbine power plant in Peru.

    -   Acquisition in the Philippines of a 600 MW coal-fired electrical
        power plant at Calaca.

    -   Contract with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
        to construct a 660 MW coal-fired electrical power plant at Map Ta
        Phut industrial estate.

    -   Acquisition of a 176 MW hydroelectric power plant at Ponte de Pedra
        (Brazil).

    SUEZ Energy Services

    -   Acquisition of full ownership in Crespo y Blasco.

    -   3 SUEZ Energy Services subsidiaries (Axima, Endel, and Ineo) join
        Areva to build the "Georges Besse II" uranium enrichment plant.

    -   Contract to design and operate centralized heating and hot water
        systems for the "Quartier des Temps Durables," France's first eco-
        district heated with zero CO(2) emissions, Limeil-Brevannes (France).

    -   Contract for facilities management services (Elyo, Ondeo IS) for the
        chemical platform at Villers-Saint-Paul (France).

    -   Renewal of Endel's contract for the Guyanese Space Center.

    -   Contract (Ineo, Axima) for air conditioning and electrical
        installations for the new Aeroports de Paris S3 terminal.

    -   Contract (Fabricom AS) to develop Statoil's Snorre oil platform in
        the North Sea.

    -   Contract for engineering and construction for Total of 21 offshore
        oil production platforms in the North Sea, off the Netherlands coast.

    -   Axima Services operations and maintenance contract for the Montreal
        airport baggage handling system.

    SUEZ Environment

    -   Successful tender offer for Agbar, in partnership with La Caixa and
        Hisusa.

    -   Renewal of a waste collection and wastewater treatment contract with
        the City of Indianapolis (9 years, EUR 178 million).

    -   Contract for the design, construction, and operation of a wastewater
        reuse plant, at Dubai (USD 800 million contract).

    -   Degremont awarded contract for the construction of a new wastewater
        treatment plant at Le Havre (EUR 76 million).

    -   Degremont signs two contracts in India for the design, construction,
        and operation of a drinking water plant in Mumbai (Bombay) and for a
        wastewater recycling plant at New Delhi (EUR 86 million).

    -   Degremont signs two contracts for a Cairo wastewater treatment plant
        (EUR 55 million).

    -   Management contract to operate the wastewater collection system
        involving 4 treatment plants for the City of Grasse (20 years,
        EUR 124 million).

    -   Degremont and Agbar sign a contract to operate a wastewater treatment
        plant at Farfana, Chile (10 years, EUR 150 million)

    -   Agbar signs a contract to operate water and wastewater services for
        the City of Oran (5.5 years, EUR 30 million).

    -   Acquisition of 33% of Aguas de Valencia, company responsible for
        managing the Valencia region water system (EUR 135 million).

    -   Contract with the City of Nimes (France) for urban cleaning and
        household waste collection (7 years, EUR 30 million).

    -   Contract for operation of the Montpellier biomethanization plant (10
        years, EUR 120 million).

    -   Contract for the design, construction, and operation of a household
        waste mechanical-biological sorting facility in the Ales region
        (Gard) (22 years, EUR 123 million).

    -   Acquisition of Easco (UK), specialized in metals recycling (2006
        revenues of EUR110 million).

    -   Design, construction, and operation of a bio-mechanical waste
        treatment plant at Mindarie, Australia (20 years, EUR 72 million).

    ---------------------------------
    (1) Based on the GDF SUEZ EBITDA definition.

    (2) Estimated impact of year to year temperature differences.

    (3) Based on the Gaz de France dividend paid in 2007 for 2006
        (EUR 1.10 per share); SUEZ shareholders will also receive a SUEZ
        Environment dividend.



    Summary balance sheet at 12/31/07

    in EURm


    ASSETS              12/31/06 12/31/07  LIABILITIES      12/31/06 12/31/07

    NON CURRENT                            Equity,
     ASSETS               46,806  51,395    group share       19,504  22,193
                                           Minority
                                            interests          3,060   2,668

    CURRENT ASSETS        26,629  27,732   TOTAL EQUITY       22,564  24,861

    o/w financial
     assets at fair
     value through
     income                  833   1,320   Provisions          9,786   9,555
    o/w cash &
     equivalents           7,946   6,720   Financial debt     19,679  21,656
                                           Other
                                            liabilities       21,406  23,055

    TOTAL                                  TOTAL
     ASSETS               73,435  79,127    LIABILITIES       73,435  79,127


    Summary income statement

    in EURm                                           2006              2007

    Revenues                                        44,289            47,475
    Depreciation, amortization & provisions         (1,685)           (1,913)
    Current operating income                         4,497             5,175
    Income from operating activities                 5,368             5,408
    Financial income (loss)                           (731)             (722)
    Income tax                                        (815)             (528)
    Share in net income of associates                  373               458
    Minority interests                                (588)             (693)
    Net result, group share                          3,606             3,924



    In EURm                                        12/31/06         12/31/07

    Gross cash flow before financial
     loss and income tax                             6,383             7,267
    Income tax paid
     (excl. income tax paid on disposals)             (985)           (1,006)
    Change in operating working capital               (226)             (244)

    CASH FLOW FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES              5,172             6,017

    Net tangible and intangible investments         (2,186)           (2,999)
    Financial investments                           (1,404)           (2,870)
    Disposals and other investment flows             3,224             1,188

    CASH FLOW FROM INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES              (366)           (4,681)

    Dividends paid                                  (1,721)           (1,969)
    Balance of reimbursement of debt/new debt       (5,206)              900
    Interests paid on financial activities            (755)             (958)
    Capital increase                                   162               833
    Other cash flows                                   582            (1,324)

    CASH FLOW FROM FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES             (6,938)           (2,518)

    Impact of currency,
     accounting practices and other                   (296)              (44)

    CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS
     AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PERIOD                 10,374             7,946

    TOTAL CASH FLOWS FOR THE PERIOD                 (2,428)           (1,226)

    CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS
     AT THE END OF THE PERIOD                        7,946             6,720
    





For further information:

For further information: Press contacts: +331-4006-6651, 6668; Financial
analyst contacts: +331-4006-6531, 6629; Belgium: +32-2-510-76-70

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