The Alpiq Group posted a satisfactory operating result given the ongoing difficult environment in fiscal 2012. Nevertheless, as previously announced, changes in market conditions and pricing coupled with the expiry of a high-margin long-term contract and divestments made to reduce debt have led to a decline in earnings. The high availability of Alpiq’s power plants, successful marketing of assets in the short-term electricity trading business, additional income from grid services and cost savings had a positive impact on the results.
In 2012 the Alpiq Group generated revenue of CHF 12.7 billion, corresponding to a year-on-year reduction of 9.1 %. EBITDA before exceptional items amounted to CHF 985 million (-18.5 %), with EBIT ending the year at CHF 520 million (-17.5 %) and profit at CHF 220 million (-14.7 %).
Annual results weighed down by impairment charges As communicated earlier, economic and regulatory changes necessitated an adjustment to expectations of price and margin trends, resulting in the recognition of impairments and provisions totalling CHF 1.615 billion for 2012.
Of this amount, some CHF 800 million is related to power generation activities in Switzerland, around CHF 600 million to international power generation activities, and around CHF 200 million to new renewable energies. Additional exceptional items made a positive contribution of CHF 133 million to the results. This reduced the negative result due to impairment charges and other exceptional items to CHF 1.482 billion before tax and CHF 1.306 billion after tax, resulting in a full-year loss of CHF 1.086 billion for the Alpiq Group.
Improvement in competitiveness due to divestments and cost-reduction programme The restructuring programme to increase competitiveness and reduce debt was consistently implemented. In terms of divestment, Alpiq had completed 11 divestment projects or signed related agreements by the end of 2012. The divestment programme will continue to be pursued in 2013 and will result in an overall inflow of CHF 1.2 - 1.6 billion for 2012/2013. Alpiq has currently opted not to sell assets in the new renewable energies field. Alpiq is ahead of schedule with its cost-reduction targets and, as announced, aims to reduce its annual costs by a further CHF 100 million as from 2015.
Consistent concentration on core strengths In future Alpiq will concentrate more consistently on its core strengths: a flexible, diversified power plant portfolio, a strong presence on the Swiss market, a good market position in the international electricity business, and a leading position in cross-border trading in Central and Eastern Europe.
Alpiq also intends to exploit the opportunities provided by the changed market situation in less capital-intensive areas such as energy efficiency and grid services.
Measures to reinforce capital structure In order to consolidate its financial structure, the company has announced measures to strengthen its capital base in the form of a subordinated loan of between CHF 800 million and CHF 1.0 billion. Alpiq’s Swiss shareholders will participate in the transaction by contributing up to 50% of the total loan amount.
In addition to strengthening the balance sheet, this measure will also increase the company's financial flexibility in terms of repositioning, divestments and refinancing.
Proposals to the Annual General Meeting on 25 April 2013 The Board of Directors proposes an unchanged dividend of CHF 2 per share from the capital contribution reserves. At the Annual General Meeting, François Driesen, Daniel Mouchet, Patrick Pruvot, Gérard Roth, Dr. Alex Stebler and Stéphane Tortajada will step down from the Board of Directors and Michael Baumgärtner, Dominique Bompoint, Damien Gros, Alex Kummer, René Longet and Olivier Fauqueux will be proposed for election to the Board.