The operating result improved by 21.4 % to € 134.0 million and the group result rose by no less than 95.7 % to € 96.7 million.
This is largely attributable to the increase in the electricity wholesale prices in Europe as a result of the steep rise in oil and gas prices. The average forward prices for baseload and peakload products were up 19.5 % and 12.4 % respectively on the values reported in the corresponding period the previous year. In spite of the keen international competition, the price increases were successfully passed on to customers in Austria and abroad by way of market price indexed contracts.
The result was negatively impacted by a 6 %-points drop in generation from hydropower as well as by the reduction in the grid tariffs imposed by the electricity regulator.
The VERBUND share improved - after a positive performance of +77.0 % last year - by a further 6.8 % to reach a record high at € 186.8 in quarter 1/2005. This confirms that the capital market takes an extremely positive view of VERBUNDs current positioning.
The outlook for fiscal 2005 is quite positive. Further sales successes in Austria and abroad, the positive development of the European wholesale prices and the strong cost awareness of the group guarantee a positive earnings trend. It is expected that the operating result will increase to in excess of € 420 million and also anticipate that the group result will be in excess of € 259 million. Net gearing will be lowered from 134 % to ca. 100 % and the value creation within the group, based on Economic-Value-Added, will improve significantly.
Detailed information on the results for quarters 1/2005 can be found under http://www.verbund.at/. Here, you can either download the Interim Report or view the user-friendly online version.