VERBUND expects EBITDA of around €800m (previous forecast: €770m) and a Group result of around €125m (previous forecast: €85m) in financial year 2014. The planned dividend continues to be based on a payout ratio of approximately 50% of the adjusted Group result which in 2014 will be around €210m (previous forecast: €190m).
This adjustment of the earnings forecast is mainly attributable to the following:
Better water supply and increased use of storage power plants in quarter 4/2014
At 1.16, water supply in quarter 4/2014 was significantly above the long-term average. The hydro coefficient for financial year 2014 was therefore 1.02. In the old forecast, assumptions for quarter 4/2014 were based on an average water supply. In addition, due to market conditions, more use was made of storage power plants in quarter 4/2014 than had been planned. The positive effect on EBITDA was around €45m and around €25m on the Group result.
Effects from impairment tests and from the thermal segment
As part of the preparation of the Group’s annual financial statements, in addition to the changed energy parameters, also the WACC for impairment tests was updated and adjusted to reflect the lower interest rate level. This resulted overall in a reversal of impairment losses in the power plant segment. In addition, effects especially in the thermal segment had a negative influence. EBITDA decreased overall by around €25m and the Group result improved by around €10m.
Cost savings higher than planned
The continued, systematic implementation of the cost savings program has led to positive effects on the result which were higher than planned, with Group result improving on the previous forecast by around €5m. The cost savings of €130m that were originally planned up to 2015 will therefore definitely be exceeded.
Further details on the 2014 annual result will be announced as planned as part of the publication of results on 11 March 2015.