Conditions on the European electricity market remained challenging in quarter 1/2015. The economy continued to show a weak performance, and prices for primary energy and wholesale electricity remained low. Three factors were responsible for the low price levels: excessive subsidies for new renewable energy sources, overcapacities in the European electricity market and the non-functioning CO2 market in Europe.
Within this environment, VERBUND systematically implemented the thermal power restructuring measures which had been decided upon in 2014. The sale of the French Pont-sur-Sambre and Toul combined cycle gas turbine power plants (CCGTs) and disposal of the equity interest in Sorgenia in Italy were both completed in quarter 1/2015.
The operating business was impacted by the above-average water supply in rivers in quarter 1/2015. At 1.03, the hydro coefficient was 3.0% above the long-term average and ten percentage points above the previous year’s figure. Generation from hydropower thus rose by 497 GWh. VERBUND’s total own generation reached 7,453 GWh in quarter 1/2015, an increase of 13.9% compared with the first quarter of the previous year. Despite the negative operating environment and lower average sales prices, VERBUND succeeded in increasing earnings. EBITDA increased by 5.2% to €217.8m, and the Group result rose by 54.9% year-on-year to €63.4m. The increase can be mainly attributed to the fact that losses are no longer being incurred from French thermal production now that the power plants have been sold.
Outlook for 2015 confirmed
On the basis of average own generation from hydropower, we expect EBITDA of approximately €770m and a Group result of approximately €180m in financial year 2015. A payout ratio of around 50% of the Group result after adjustment for non-recurring effects is planned for 2015.