Developments in the energy market continued to be favourable in the first half of 2018 with respect to the operating conditions for VERBUND. Among other things, the recovery of electricity wholesale prices that started in 2016 continued, thanks in particular to higher prices for carbon certificates and ongoing robust prices for primary energy sources such as oil, coal and gas. The Group’s current good performance rests on a stable foundation consisting of the low cost structure achieved in recent years through numerous programmes to increase efficiency and its reduced debt level.
The earnings trend in quarters 1–2/2018 was characterised by a high level of generation from hydropower amid a concurrent decline in generation from thermal power plants and wind farms. The hydro coefficient representing the water supply from rivers was 1.08, which is 8% above the long-term average and an impressive 19 percentage points above the level for quarters 1–2/2017. Generation from annual storage power plants also increased substantially. Therefore, total generation from hydropower rose by 3,088 GWh. VERBUND’s own generation was up 15.8%, or 2,386 GWh, to 17,518 GWh compared with the prior-year period. Earnings performance also benefitted from a higher contribution from the Grid segment and the good results achieved through the programmes implemented in recent years to reduce costs and increase efficiency. By contrast, revenue from flexibility products saw another pronounced year-on-year decline, as in quarter 1/2018, given that quarters 1–2/2017 were both exceptionally good for flexibility products.
EBITDA was up 21.1%, rising from €415.9m to €503.7m. The reported Group result rose by 47.3% with an increase from €154.5m to €227.5m. The Group result after adjustment for non-recurring effects increased by 43.9% from €154.5m to €222.3m. The non-recurring effects in quarters 1–2/2018 related primarily to the decommissioned power plants Dürnrohr and Korneuburg.
Outlook for 2018Assuming an average water and wind supply in the second half of the year, we expect EBITDA for financial year 2018 to amount to approximately €950m and the Group result to amount to approximately €370m. For financial year 2018, VERBUND plans a dividend payout ratio of between 40% and 45% of the projected Group result of €365m after adjustment for non-recurring effects.