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The operating result increased in quarter 1/2011 by 11.0% to €215.8m. This positive trend can be attributed above all to an increase in own generation from hydropower on the part of VERBUND. At 0.99, the hydro coefficient may have been 1% below the long-term average, but it was 7 percentage points above the previous year’s level. Therefore, generation at the run-of-river power plants increased considerably compared to the same period in the previous year. In contrast, generation at the annual storage power plants decreased as a result of the lower storage levels at the beginning of the year. Thermal generation was also up. This can be attributed to a stronger use of the thermal power plants in Austria as well as the purchase of full electricity from the Pont-sur-Sambre power plant in France since 1 March 2011.
Overall, VERBUND’s own generation increased by 365 GWh. Group result decreased by 9.5% to €108.5m. The decrease in the Group result can be attributed mainly to the positive one-off effect (tax benefits for investments) that affected the result from equity interests in Italian Sorgenia S.p.A. (Group) in the previous year, but did not apply in the current reporting period.
Effects of the nuclear crisis in Japan
As a consequence of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany temporarily shut down its seven oldest nuclear power plants as well as the earlier disconnected power plant Krümmel in the middle of March. Other nations resolved to review existing and new nuclear reactors. This led to a considerable increase in wholesale prices for electricity in Europe, in particular with respect to futures market prices.
As part of the hedging strategy, VERBUND sells around 80% of the annual own generation on the futures market and in particular one year in advance, the remaining 20% are sold at spot market prices. Thus, the elevated wholesale prices hardly influenced the Q1/2011 results.
On the basis of an average water supply, we expect the operating result and the Group result to remain more or less the same in the 2011 fiscal year. Dividends will continue to be oriented on a payout ratio of 45% to 50%.