French water and waste services group Veolia reported a net loss of 2013 on Thursday but said it expected better times this year, sending its shares surging.
Veolia, a world leader in its sector, reported a net loss of 135 million euros ($184 million) and a fall of sales, but underlying profitability improved.
This compared to a net profit of 404 million euros in 2012, a figureboosted by big profits from asset sales.
The figure for last year was undermined by non-recurrent charges.
Veolia, which also provides transportation services, said it expected to increase sales this year, excluding exchange rate factors, and to improve its net profit performance and recurrent operating profit significantly.
The price of shares in the group was showing a gain of 4.78 percent to 13.36 euros in initial trading. The overall French market was up by 0.08 percent.
Chief executive Antoine Frerot, who survived a boardroom attempt to oust him, said that in 2013 the group had benefited from the positive effects of efforts to reorganise Veolia Environnement.
The group was ambitious for this year, he said, and performance would be improved mainly by reducing costs which would boost profits.
Last year sales fell by 4.0 percent to 22.3 billion euros. Analysts had expected a fall of about 2.0 percent.