VERBUND: Marketing offensive for free power market
“After the blocking of Energie Austria, VERBUND will focus on new markets and clients and bring its strength to bear in the ever increasing competition,” explained Hans Haider, Chairman of the Board of Management of VERBUND.
“Our high proportion of clean and cost-effective hydropower, and our geographical position in the centre of Europe are the best conditions for VERBUND’s success.”
„The acquisition of the first free power client in Germany, the establishment of Austrian Power Trading, the acquisition of the first bundle client, Mayr-Melnhof, and now the installation of our online marketing platform: We have always been streets ahead of the developments of the free market.“ This is how Johann Sereinig, responsible for power trading in the VERBUND Board of Management, describes the VERBUND’s future orientation. “Starting www.austrian-power.com next Monday as the first Internet platform for individual power purchasing, we affirm once again our role as ’first mover‘.“
The strategic vision behind the e-commerce offensive is summarized by the two Board Members as follows: “Low Cost Producer – Low Cost Seller“ is the formula on which VERBUND bases its future success.
Mr. Haider identifies the biggest competitive advantages for VERBUND in the following facts:
- timely start and consistent continuation of restructuring measures (merger of all special companies),
- consistent cost management,
- the strategy of unbundling, fully in line with the European Union,
- the high proportion of hydropower,
- successful move to foreign countries, especially Germany, Italy, and now also Poland,
- expansion of trading and good position at the European power stock exchanges, and
- opening up of new distribution channels.
As hydropower producer VERBUND is holding an excellent position within Europe. EdF-Hydro is the leader, producing an annual 60 billion kilowatt hours, followed by ENEL-Hydro with 30 billion kWh. They are followed by VERBUND, which produces 25 billion kWh. Thus VERBUND is Central Europe’s most efficient hydropower group.
Mr. Sereinig summed up the VERBUND strategy in three main areas:
- Further development of the market presence in Austria, supported by the establishment of a separate marketing subsidiary;
- accelerated internationalization focusing on Central Europe, and
- increased commitment in trading, which has already made VERBUND the biggest player at the German power stock exchanges LPX and EEX.
In Austria, VERBUND has succeeded in keeping all its clients. Furthermore, it has been very successful in acquiring new industrial clients. In the completely free power market VERBUND will also focus on business clients. VERBUND will continue to focus on industrial clients in the liberalized power market. There is a considerable potential in Austria and Germany: Approximately 2.2 million new business clients are waiting for attractive offers by power suppliers when the market is completely open in fall next year.
VERBUND is already offering its attractive power products to the business clients in Austria and abroad via trend-setting, particularly slim distribution channels. “Power purchase via the Internet“ will be VERBUND’s future slogan: “austrian-power.com“ is the first online marketing platform in Central Europe, which will allow industrial customers ordering customized power products per mouse click as of next Monday, October 2.
However, all end customers, too, who are not yet able to choose their power supplier, get a decisive lead as registered users of the Internet platform www.austrian-power.com before the power market will be fully liberalized.
Mr. Sereinig: “This is not merely a platform for trading or auctions but an e-commerce service customized to the demands of industrial bulk consumers and retailers. These clients can combine, calculate and buy our power products to suit their needs.“
“The advantages of austrian-power.com“, said Mr. Sereinig, “are quick market processing, no geographic and time barriers, high flexibility and customer friendliness, and last but not least considerable cost advantages versus a traditional marketing system. Our goal is to do 50 % of our power trading via the Internet in five years.“
“We shall continue to do everything we can to keep the role of the ‘first mover’ always one decisive step ahead in the battle for markets and clients,” Mr. Sereinig said.