Despite the difficult business conditions VERBUND, Austria’s largest power service provider, was very successful in positioning itself in the European power market. Due to the price recovery in the international wholesale markets and a good water regime as well as successful marketing at home and abroad a clear increase in sales and profit performance and an improvement of the ratios were achieved.
The business conditions in the fiscal year 2002 were very difficult. The economy and consumption stagnated, and the international stock exchanges recorded considerable price losses. Against this background the business development in 2002 was extremely positive.
There was a pronounced increase in sales, by 23 % to € 2,072 million. Based on the recovery of the international wholesale prices and a water regime 11 % above the average of many years important successes were recorded both at home and abroad. In some areas, double-digit growth rates were recorded in sales to domestic provincial companies and business customers but also to resellers abroad.
The group’s cost items were further reduced or kept at an already low level. Only the damage resulting from the floods especially in August and the expenditure of the pension fund that was caused by the weak capital markets proved burdensome.
The operating result (EBIT) increased by 4.5 % to € 331.1 million, the profit before taxes by 6.9 % to € 208.0 million, the group result went up by no less than 34.3 % to € 154.9 million. This corresponds to a € 3.74 increase in earnings per share to € 5.03. The decisive management-relevant ratios showed a pronounced improvement; some of them even surpass those recorded by comparable competitors. Thus, for example, the return on capital employed (ROCE), the return on total capital invested, increased from 9.6 % to 10.4 %. Net gearing (debt ratio) went down from 257.2 % to 251.8 %, the Economic Value Added (EVA) shows a creation of value amounting to € 16 million.
On the basis of the good results the board of management will propose the distribution of an extra dividend of 0.15 €/share in addition to the 1.25 €/share dividend at the stockholders’ annual meeting. This corresponds to a 12 % increase in the total dividend.
For more information on the balance sheet 2002 visit the VERBUND homepage at http://www.verbund.at/. There you will find a user-friendly online version of the annual report as from today.