Corporate news: VERBUND results for quarters 1-3/2020

11/5/2020Vienna

Earnings up, profitability improved and debt reduced despite COVID-19 crisis

The energy market environment, which is vitally important for VERBUND, has improved again following the deterioration caused by COVID-19. This environment has enabled VERBUND to present a good result for the first three quarters of 2020, despite the fall in demand for electricity in Austria. Although we are still in crisis mode, operations are running at full capacity – and in compliance with the relevant safety measures. 

The results posted by VERBUND for quarters 1–3/2020 improved in spite of negative impacts caused by COVID-19 and a lower water supply than in the previous year. EBITDA increased by 4.6%, from €946.1m to €989.5m. The reported Group result climbed from €450.9m to €477.7m, an increase of 6.0%. The Group result after adjustment for non-recurring effects was up 3.3%, from €453.3m to €468.3m. In addition, the Group succeeded in improving its profitability and further reducing debt. The EBITDA margin was widened from 33.5% to 39.2% and the gearing lowered from 36.0% to 29.7%. Both of these figures are top values in the European utilities sector.

The water supply was at a lower level in quarters 1–3/2020. The hydro coefficient for the run-of-river hydropower plants came to 0.98, which is 2 percentage points below the long-term average and 4 percentage points below the year-ago figure. In contrast, generation from VERBUND’s annual storage power plants increased substantially in quarters 1–3/2020. Overall, generation from hydropower was therefore at the previous year’s level, at 24,268 GWh. Earnings benefitted from the rise in wholesale electricity prices on the futures markets during the relevant hedging period. Prices on the spot markets, on the other hand, declined significantly in quarters 1–3/2020, due in particular to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. In summary, the EBITDA contributions from the Hydro and Sales segments increased, while the contributions from the New renewables, Grid and from all other segments decreased. The development of the financial result was very encouraging as a result of a significant reduction in interest expenses due in particular to high repayments of principal in financial year 2019. A number of non-recurring effects were also recognised in quarters 1–3/2020. These related mainly to impairment losses on power plants attributable to higher capital costs as per 30 June 2020, as well as the measurement of an obligation to return an interest. The Group result after adjustment for non-recurring effects was €468.3m, corresponding to an increase of 3.3% on the prior-year figure. 

Improved forecast for 2020 

Based on expectations of an average water supply and an average wind supply in quarter 4/2020 and the opportunities and risks identified, we expect EBITDA of between around €1,240m and €1,300m and a Group result of between around €570m and €610m in financial year 2020. VERBUND’s planned payout ratio for 2020 is between 40% and 50% of the Group result of between around €560m and €600m, after adjustment for non-recurring effects.

KPIs Unit Q1-3/2019 Q1-3/2020 Change in %
Revenue €m 2,826.8 2,522.7 -10.8
EBITDA €m 946.1 989.5 4.6
Operating result €m 675.9 692.9 2.5
Group result €m 450.9 477.7 6.0
Earnings per share 1.30 1.38 6.0
EBIT margin % 23.9 27.5
EBITDA margin % 33.5 39.2
Cash flow from operating activities €m 893.8 852.3 -4.6
Free cash flow after dividends €m 451.8 135.8 -70.0
Performance of the VERBUND-share % 34.8 4.3
Gearing % 36.0 29.7
Additional information as well as the Interim Report for quarters 1–3/2020 is available at www.verbund.com > Investor Relations > Latest financial results.

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Andreas Wollein Andreas Wollein

Head of Group Finance, M&A and Investor Relations

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