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Veolia: Barclays initiates coverage with 'overweight' rating

( - Analysts at Barclays yesterday began to cover the share of utilites group Veolia with a buy ("overweight") rating, which is the broker's best pick in France.

The broker's target price of 23.5 euros suggests upside potential of just over 10%.

According to a note, the "De-rating of Veolia has gone too far". Analysts generally believe that the earnings outlook is favourable in its sector, thanks to the combination of "organic growth opportunities in water & waste and cost cutting". As a result, over the period from 2018 to 2023, Veolia and Suez's EPS are expected to increase by around 9% p.a. However, these two stocks have underperformed both the CAC 40 and sector indices since the end of 2017, which is considered "unjustified", especially as Barclays expects an economic recovery next year.

As the Veolia share has greater upside potential than that of Suez, the broker therefore has a buy rating of the former.

Les résultats du 1er trimestre 2019, soit le 2 mai dans le cas de Veolia, pourraient enfin servir de catalyseur alors que les inquiétudes du marché sont "excessives", selon Barclays.

Veolia will publish its Q1 2019 results on 2 May could finally serve as a catalyst, at a time when market concerns are "excessive," Barclays says.

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