Thanks to substantial debt clearing, the value reported for new gearing lay well below the corresponding average value of the European supplier at 153 %. The capital market rewarded this development, the price of the VERBUND share rose by 33 %.
Sales revenue increased by 22.0 % to € 727.8 million and the operating result was up a significant 21.5 % at € 110.4 million.
This positive development was mainly due to the steady increase in forward prices on the European wholesale markets. By constructing innovative market price indexed contract models, VERBUND was able to benefit greatly from this trend. This positive, sustained price development is attributable to increased prices for primary energy sources, dwindling reserve capacities and the additional costs that are expected for the implementation of the climate protection measures. VERBUND’s orientation towards low-priced, environmentally-friendly generation from renewable hydropower allows the company to profit from this long-term development.
In addition, the sales activities in the defined core markets Germany, Italy, France and Slovenia were extended successfully. VERBUND generated over 50 % of its sales in foreign markets.
The group result was adversely affected by negative currency effects and one-off investment income in quarter 1/2003 and fell by 30.9 % to € 49.4 million. Were it not for these effects, continued debt clearing would have led to a significant improvement.
Strong share performance
The price of the VERBUND share developed excellently in Q1/2004 with a plus of 32.6 % since the beginning of the year. Consequently, the VERBUND share clearly outperformed the DJ STOXX Utilities (+ 8.3 %) and the ATX (+ 20.8 %) and therefore achieved the highest value increase of all the listed European utility stocks.
Austrian Electricity Solution on the home straight
The Austrian Electricity Solution, the cooperation between VERBUND and the partner companies of EnergieAllianz, is about to become reality. The sale of the VERBUND distribution subsidiary APC, a requirement of the European cartel office with a suspending effect, is about to take place. A positive decision is expected by May 2004. The Austrian Electricity Solution will be quickly implemented on completion of the sale. VERBUND expects to benefit from synergies in the amount of approx. € 40 million per annum. Detailed information on the results for Q1/2004 can be found under http://www.verbund.at/. Here, you can either download the Interim Report or view the user-friendly online version.