OPERATING INCOME UP SUBSTANTIALLY ON INTERMITTENT IMPROVEMENTS IN MARKET ENVIRONMENT
POSITIVE IMPACT FROM SLIGHT RECOVERY IN PRICES ON THE ENERGY MARKET IN SECOND HALF OF 2017 – MARKET OPPORTUNITIES SUCCESSFULLY EXPLOITED – SUBSTANTIAL EARNINGS CONTRIBUTION FROM ITALIAN MARKET
Repower’s results for 2017 were significantly better than expected. Prices on the energy markets recovered slightly, especially in the second half of the year. Repower managed to capitalise on the resulting business opportunities thanks to skilful positioning in the marketplace. Another key mainstay contributing to this was stable earnings contributions from energy supply activities and continued growth in revenues from work for third parties. In Italy there was gratifying growth in the sale of electricity and gas in combination with innovative services. Energy marketing activities once again saw solid contributions to earnings from both the day-ahead and balancing energy side.
The 2017 financial year ended with earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of CHF 34 million. Earnings before income taxes came to CHF 20 million, with annual profit for the year also CHF 20 million.
Unlike the previous period, there are no notable exceptional items to report for the 2017 financial year. The comments on Repower Group’s 2017 financial results below thus refer to the reported operating performance. Comparisons with the prior year are, however, made on the basis of results before exceptional items. The comments on the balance sheet relate to the reported figures. Another major development dominating the year under review was the change from IFRS to Swiss GAAP FER financial reporting standards. The figures presented and described below thus reflect the use of Swiss GAAP FER. To ensure comparability, the prior year figures have been adjusted retroactively.
At CHF 1,835 million, Repower Group net sales from goods and services were up 8 per cent year on year (prior year: CHF 1,700 million). Sales improved in Switzerland (primarily energy trading) and Italian (an increase in energy generated by the group’s own assets). The fact that the average euro exchange rate was higher than the previous year also resulted in higher sales in Swiss francs, the reporting currency. Gross energy margin improved, up CHF 12 million from CHF 196 million to CHF 208 million. This was primarily due to the gratifying energy trading results in Switzerland mentioned above and successful marketing of energy generated by Repower’s own assets in Italy, which saw a substantial year-on-year increase.
Operating expenses (without energy procurement) declined by around CHF 5 million year on year to CHF 163 million (from CHF 168 million the year before). Once again a reduction in personnel expenses (down CHF 2 million) and a significant fall in other operating expenses (down CHF 8 million) played a particular role in this decline. Further progress in accounts receivable management in Italy significantly reduced the corresponding expense. On the other hand there were increases in concession fees (up CHF 2 million) and materials and third-party services (up CHF 3 million). The latter relate among other things to the increasing expense of compensating and managing the strategically crucial network of agents in Italy.
Scheduled depreciation/amortisation came in at CHF 45 million for 2017, the same as the previous year. The year under review saw neither impairment losses nor reversals (prior year: CHF +15 million).
Repower Group posted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of CHF 34 million, CHF 4 million (12%) higher than the CHF 30 million in EBIT before exceptional items recorded the previous year.
There was CHF 14 million year-on-year improvement in financial income, with a loss of CHF 14 million versus a loss of CHF 28 million the previous year. Unlike the previous year, currency gains of CHF 19 million were recorded in 2017, although they were to a large extent neutralised by currency hedging transactions. The year under review saw a reduction in financial liabilities from CHF 18 million in 2016 to CHF 10 million in 2017. This is connected with the premature repayment of two registered bonds in summer 2016, the repayment of the CHF 200 million bond at the end of 2016, and more favourable terms on new and extended loans.
Repower posted a group profit of CHF 20 million for 2017, which after the previous year’s CHF 1 million loss can be seen as a gratifying development.
A significant increase in financial assets (up CHF 42 million) is related to fixed-term deposits which have a longer term and are therefore recognised in non-current assets. A CHF 66 million increase in non-current liabilities was primarily due to the issue of the two green bonds (CHF 59 million) in January 2017. Current financial liabilities were impacted by the reclassification of a loan from non-current to current (CHF 25 million), the repayment of a loan (CHF 15 million) and replacement values related to forward exchange transactions (CHF 10 million).
The regulatory and political frameworks in Switzerland and the rest of Europe are subject to major change, preventing any significantly greater stability in the energy industry’s operating environment in the years to come. Repower is keeping very close track of these developments and taking action as appropriate. At the same time the company is systematically moving forward with the implementation of its stated strategy, consistently focusing on sales and services. This, in combination with a policy of maintaining the value of its hydropower assets and plans to substantially build business in the SME segment in Italy, mean that the prospects for the current and subsequent years remain challenging.