Outstanding Year in 2006
It was with pleasure and pride that Atel’s Chairman, Dr. Rainer Schaub, opened the 112th Annual General Meeting: “The Group made decisive and great strides forward during 2006”. Schaub put the exceptional results down to the very solid work done across the board. All the businesses and market regions contributed to the satisfying progress, he said in his review at his first Annual General Meeting as Chairman of the Board. Performance was also positively impacted by the price situation, economic conditions and the impending surge in capital spending to modernise energy infrastructure.
CHF 40 dividend
Atel’s shareholders approved the dividend of CHF 40 per registered share proposed for 2006. This 43% year-on-year increase reflects the successful financial year and good operating results.
The terms of office of Marc Boudier and Urs Steiner, serving as directors since 2001 and 2004 respectively, expired at the 2007 Annual General Meeting. Shareholders reappointed them both for another three-year term. Jean-Philippe Rochon, representing EDF, stepped down at the 2007 Annual General Meeting. Shareholders elected Pierre Aumont to replace him and complete the remaining two years of his term.
Atel – a total energy service provider
In his Chairman’s address, Chairman Dr. Rainer Schaub also highlighted the political and public debate on energy and climate policy. Both the European Union and Switzerland have decided to shift the focus of energy policy. For one, they are each centring on filling the looming energy gap. For the other, they are directing attention at various measures to reduce CO2 emissions in light of the climate change. The EU and Switzerland are both concentrating on four largely identical pillars of action: energy efficiency, promotion of renewable energies, spending on large-scale generation facilities and transmission systems, and market opening. Atel was making – and would continue to make – a substantial contribution to all four pillars, emphasized Atel’s Chairman of the Board.
Turning to the third pillar, Rainer Schaub announced that Atel would present proposals to make the option of nuclear energy into a concrete proposition for Switzerland. One modern nuclear power station is needed to replace the three ageing facilities and another to replace the expiring import contracts. Schaub said the goal was to set up a study consortium by the end of 2007, adding that Atel would like to take the lead for at least one nuclear facility.
The EU electricity market will be fully opened to competition from 1 July 2007. Rainer Schaub was pleased that parliament had successfully completed the long-drawn-out and intense debates on Switzerland’s Electricity Supply Act and Energy Act. While not ideal but a compromise, the Electricity Supply Act is acceptable to Atel at the end of the day.
Atel’s Chairman portrayed the pan-European company as a total energy service provider with a perfect “both/and” strategy. Atel will strengthen its positioning within the new political framework in the EU and Switzerland: both locally and internationally, both renewable energies and nuclear power stations, both generation and trading, both energy business and energy services.
Atel – record results in a dynamic environment
In his address, CEO Giovanni Leonardi outlined the driving forces behind the excellent operating performance. The Group’s results beat all expectations. The general conditions in 2006 were very favourable, fuelled by a dynamic and propitious economic environment with rising energy consumption and high capital spending in areas covered by the Energy Services segment. One of Atel’s priorities last year was its move into new renewable energy in Italy and Switzerland. In parallel, it continued to refine the project for the new Group "Energy West". At the same time, Atel started laying the groundwork for new nuclear power stations in Switzerland.
Giovanni Leonardi was particularly delighted that Atel had crossed two magic thresholds last year with its operating results. The Group’s revenue topped the 10 billion mark, reaching CHF 11.3 billion, a 32 per cent increase over 2005. Electricity sales exceeded the 100 TWh mark by 16 TWh. During 2006, the Group sold a total of 116 TWh of electricity. These two milestones reached by Atel would have seemed utopian only five years ago, said Leonardi.
Outlook for 2007
During 2007, Atel is looking to further consolidate its trading and sales activities in all markets. The company expects this to bring further growth in electricity sales volumes, in particular in trading, in Germany, France and Eastern Europe. Atel anticipates mounting competition and sideways movements in market prices, accompanied by a tendency towards narrower margins. In addition, transit costs in cross-border capacity auctions will keep rising due to additional restrictions and transmission bottlenecks. Overall, it currently seems unlikely that the results in energy business will match the exceptionally good operating figures seen in 2006.
Energy Services segment
In its energy services business, Atel is seeking to capitalise on opportunities to promote targeted and profitable progress in the segment. The good level of orders at the beginning of the year has laid a solid foundation for this. Following the Federal Council’s decision on future energy policy, the Energy Services segment will play a more important role. Awareness of the issue of energy efficiency has unleashed interesting development potential for this segment.
Overall, the Atel Group anticipates continued sales and revenue growth and a substantial volume of capital spending for 2007. Unless unusual circumstances arise, operating results are expected to be below the exceptionally good levels achieved in 2006.
Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications
Note: Copies of the addresses given by Chairman Dr. Rainer Schaub and CEO Giovanni Leonardi can be found at the link below. Both these addresses are also available as a video stream.