Conditions in the European electricity market continued to worsen during quarter 1/2016. One of the main factors impacting VERBUND’s income trend is the price of wholesale electricity on the EEX, the German electricity exchange. These prices saw another dramatic decline from their already historically low level at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016. The decrease in the price of wholesale electricity was attributable to lower prices for coal and an additional drop in CO2 prices on the global markets.
The strategic focus of VERBUND in quarter 1/2016 was on continuing to systematically implement our strategy. This included increasing the regulated portion of the Group’s asset portfolio and strengthening our customer-focused business in energy-related services and products.
The Group’s income trend for quarter 1/2016 was positive. The operating result increased by 4.5%, and EBITDA declined only slightly, with a decrease of 2.0% to €213.5m compared with the previous year. The hydro coefficient representing the water supply from rivers was 1.00, which is equivalent to the long-term average, and 3 percentage points below the level of quarter 1/2015. Generation from hydropower therefore decreased by 212 GWh. Due to the significantly lower level of thermal generation, VERBUND’s own generation decreased by 10.0% compared with quarter 1/2015 to a total of 6,705 GWh. The difficult operating environment in the energy market was reflected in lower average sales prices. However, higher earnings in the Grid segment in particular and lower expenses thanks to the programmes to reduce costs were able to compensate for the negative effects. The Group result amounted to €82.4m, a rise of 29.9% over the prior-year comparative. The increase was primarily attributable to the improvement in the financial result, which was due in particular to bond repayments in 2015.
Outlook for 2016 confirmed
On the basis of average own generation from hydropower, we expect EBITDA of approximately €750m and a Group result of approximately €230m for financial year 2016.