VERBUND is taking the next measures for its strategic orientation in a dramatically changed energy market: 2014 saw the company withdrawing from Italy, France and Bulgaria, as well as having previously withdrawn from Turkey in 2013, and is concentrating on the geographic market sectors of Austria and Germany. The withdrawal from thermal energy production outside Austria has largely been completed; VERBUND is backing carbon-free production from hydropower and wind power. Alongside the chosen wind power projects and the increasing of efficiency in existing power plants, future areas of growth are represented by the provision of energy services and energy-related offers for private, industry and also business customers.
As early as autumn 2013, VERBUND launched a comprehensive set of measures with streamlining of investments, restructuring of the thermal energy portfolio, as well as cost reduction for maintenance and personnel:
The investment plan has been significantly reduced, as well as being spread out over time. The focus lies on the completion of ongoing construction projects, as well as on increasing efficiency and the revitalisation of existing power plants. Furthermore, 2013’s internal cost reduction and efficiency enhancement programme has already yielded cuts of EUR 30 million; a further EUR 65 million will be added to this in 2014. In total, the planned cost savings of more than EUR 130 million will in any case be achieved by 2015. This programme, which has been running since autumn 2013, has resulted in a headcount reduction of around 250 people. Socially acceptable solutions exist for approx. 80 % of these employees, in line with the agreed social-compensation plans. The remaining approx. 20 % are available to the internal job market.
Further cost and efficiency measures from 2014 until 2020
On 11 November 2014, VERBUND’s management board personally informed the employees about further necessary steps for the consistent implementation of the strategy:
The number of personnel in the thermal energy sector will be reduced in Austria by some 80 jobs due to closure and sales measures; some 30 jobs will disappear in France due to the sales.
It is intended that the investment plan, which was already streamlined in the previous year, will receive new cutbacks, the result of which could be the loss of approx. 60 jobs.
The focus on hydropower and energy-related services on the markets in Austria and Germany significantly reduces the company’s complexity and simultaneously places new demands on VERBUND. The structure and organisation follow this development:
Therefore, for the period until 2020, it has been determined that there will be a further personnel reduction of 110 employees in management, administration and in the commercial sector.
The stop on recruitment – with the exception of apprentices – remains in place; the successful internal job market is to be continued. A further approx. 75 necessary replacements will not be covered externally, but rather via the internal job market.
As is customary at VERBUND, the designated socially acceptable measures will take effect in line with the agreed social-compensation plan.
"We are experiencing challenging times and reacting proactively with the correct measures and direction. This is ambitious, but VERBUND is approaching the job cutbacks and redundancies in a socially acceptable manner. The consistent continuation of our strategic path will strengthen our successful positioning in Europe as a profitable carbon-free green energy supplier and energy service provider," said Anzengruber.