VERBUND strengthens position in French electricity market


VERBUND is to participate in French gas and electricity supplier Poweo SA with 25 percent, the purchase price amounting to approx. 40 million Euro. With that, Austria’s largest electricity company continues to pursue its established policy of profitable growth in European core markets. VERBUND will thus become the largest shareholder of Poweo SA, a company listed on the Paris stock market, which will in future be managed in partnership with founder and CEO Charles Beigbeder.

Poweo is France’s leading independent gas and electricity supplier and strongest competitor of the state-owned EdF. So far, Poweo has been able to acquire roughly 50 percent of customers having changed suppliers from the SME segment, so far open to new suppliers. Since start-up of operations in June 2002, approx. 84,000 customers - mainly from the electricity sector - have been acquired. The annual turnover in 2005 came to approx. 170 million Euro.

France ranks second after Germany within the European Union in terms of electricity markets and offers considerable growth potential for new suppliers. The EdF currently still holds roughly 90 percent of the French electricity market, which, to this point, has been open only to industrial customers; however, losses of market shares due to the final process of deregulation from mid 2007 are anticipated.

Forecast business activities include the construction of new power plants in France, where VERBUND will participate as a partner supplying the necessary know-how and holding 40 percent of the joint power plant corporation. Plans for a 400 MW gas power plant in Northern France have already made considerable progress; both the location and the entrepreneurship of Siemens company have been settled. An additional 800 MW power plant is in the conception stage.