Atel Group: 1998 operating results

The Atel Group's turnover increased by 14 % in the 1998 financial year to CHF 1.82 billion and its energy sales rose by 16 % to 26.9 billion kWh. The Group has set aside provisions of CHF 100 million for the forthcoming market deregulation. Consolidated profit stands at CHF 95 million.

Turnover up by 14 %

Competition on Europe's electricity markets, which are in the process of deregulating, further intensified in the 1998 financial year, putting severe pressure on prices and margins again. Nevertheless, the Atel Group was able to maintain its operating results at high levels. Energy sales climbed by around 16 % to 26.9 billion kWh (1997: 23.2 billion kWh) and Group turnover rose by around 14 % to CHF 1.82 billion (1997: CHF 1.6 billion). This increase was partly attributable to the inclusion of the Kummler+Matter Group that was acquired at the end of 1997. Consolidated cashflow improved by around 5 % to CHF 595 million (1997: CHF 569 million). Pre-tax earnings on ordinary activities remained practically unchanged at CHF 249 million compared to the prior year (CHF 246 million). In view of the imminent market deregulation and related risks, an exceptional provision of CHF 100 million for market deregulation risk was set aside, as a result of which consolidated profit now stands at CHF 95 million (1997: CHF 172 million).

In the 1998 financial year, the parent company Aare-Tessin Electricity Company Limited generated net turnover of CHF 1.48 billion (1997: CHF 1.39 billion) and cashflow of CHF 460 million (1997: CHF 417 million). Earnings for the year stand at CHF 59 million (1997: CHF 114 million) as a result of the exceptional CHF 100 million provision for market deregulation risk. Both the Colenco and Sopracenerina Group and the installation companies ended the year in profit.

The Board of Directors will propose an unchanged dividend of CHF 18 per registered share with a nominal value of CHF 100 at the annual general meeting of shareholders on 27 May 1999.

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications

Full details on the 1998 financial year will be given at the press conference on 4 May 1999 in Olten.