Electricity group Verbund thanks to higher prices with profit increase
Austria’s largest electricity group, Verbund, benefited in the first quarter from the sharp rise in futures market prices on the wholesale electricity market. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) rose by 18.7 percent to 967.3 million euros, the group, which is one of the largest producers of hydroelectric power in Europe, announced on Thursday. All in all, profit increased by 2.8 percent to 529.0 million euros.
The average sales price achieved for self-generation from hydropower rose by EUR 88.9 per megawatt hour (MWh) to EUR 202.8 per MWh. In addition, the generation from photovoltaic and wind power plants has grown, especially from the commissioning in Spain, the group explained. On the other hand, the significantly lower thermal generation and the negative contribution to earnings from the Sales segment had a negative effect, due among other things to the high procurement costs. In addition, the measures for government profit skimming that have been effective in Austria and Germany since December have weighed on the result, it said. However, the company did not provide any specific information.
For the full year 2023, the majority state-owned group expects an EBITDA of between around 3.7 and 4.3 billion euros and a consolidated result of between around 2.0 and 2.4 billion euros. The payout ratio is planned to be between 45 and 55 percent. However, the outlook and the information about the expected payout ratio would only apply subject to the proviso that there are no further negative effects from possible energy policy measures to absorb profits. Only the day before, the Austrian federal government had announced that it would increase profit skimming from energy companies if the energy suppliers did not quickly lower their prices.