Paris's return to public water supplies makes waves beyond France

martes 8 de julio de 2014 09:57 GYT

* Paris's move to take back water supplies inspires others

* Veolia, Suez margins fall as towns negotiate discounts

* EU anti-privatisation trend pushes water firms abroad

* Private water firms grow quickly in developing countries

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, July 8 (Reuters) - Nearly five years after Paris took the management of its water supply back into its own hands, the move is inspiring other cities at home and abroad and hurting profits at private water firms Veolia and Suez Environnement.

In 2008, socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoe ended the contracts with the two firms that had operated Paris water distribution systems since 1985 - Veolia on the right bank of the city and Suez on the left bank.

Publicly owned Eau de Paris, which took over from 2010, has since become a model for a string of French and foreign cities and a threat civic leaders now use to force down prices.

That is posing a big challenge to Suez and Veolia. While they have responded by focusing more on their waste and energy activities and looking for industrial clients, they still rely heavily on water. In 2013, water accounted for about 45 percent of Veolia's 22 billion euros ($30 billion) of revenue.   Continuación...