Eneco Group’s results continue to grow in 2017
Eneco Groep N.V. grew strongly in 2017. Operating profit (EBIT) was €158 million, a significant improvement of 49% compared with €106 million in 2016. Gross margin and other revenues rose to €1,052 million (2016: €931 million) thanks in part to new solar and wind farms coming on stream and acquisitions, in particular of energy companies in Belgium and Germany.
Investment (acquisitions and expansion and replacement of sustainable generation capacity) increased to €727 million (2016: €150 million) and was mainly in wind farms (€99 million), expansion of solar farms, improving the transmission and sustainability of the generation of heat (€69 million) and adaptation of the Bio Golden Raand biomass power plant (€31 million). The acquisition of the Belgian activities of energy company Eni and a major holding in the German sustainable energy and IT company LichtBlick contributed to a 22% rise in revenue to €3.4 billion.
Operating expenses were up 8% to €894 million as a result of the acquisitions. Excluding acquisitions, operating expenses actually decreased, mainly due to the unbundling Stedin and Eneco Group on 1 February 2017 (which reduced overheads) and cost-saving measures. The net profit after income tax was €127 million, an increase of 23% on 2016 (€103 million).
Eneco Group is working on digitalisation for its customers and further major steps in this area were taken in 2017. Highlights included new services added to the Toon smart thermostat, while the HeatWinner, a compact gas-saving heat pump, was prepared for launch on the market. The first Eneco Zonnehubs started; a service that allows customers who cannot install solar panels at home to purchase panels that are installed elsewhere, such as on the roofs of commercial premises. In addition, the HollandseZon solar energy product was introduced.
Collective heating systems will be very important in making the Netherlands ‘gas-free’. Eneco is a market leader in this and worked on the expansion of the district heating business in Zuid-Holland together with its partners in the Warmtealliantie, which was launched in 2017. Eneco’s own district heating business was made more sustainable and contracts were signed for future growth in the number of heating customers, including in The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam. Construction started on a bio plant for local supply of heat in Utrecht.
Innovation is crucial for the energy transition and growth of Eneco Group. Holdings were acquired in ONZO, a smart data company, Thermondo, a German innovator in the market for heating equipment, and NextKraftwerke, which operates a large virtual power plant. Eneco and Mitsubishi are working together on the construction of the largest battery in Europe.
The market for electric cars is also continuing to grow. In the Netherlands, Eneco increased the number of recharging points by 38% and the number of charging cards by 25%. In Belgium, these figures were 105% and 106% respectively. Eneco Group is combining all its electric mobility activities in an autonomous company, Eneco eMobility, from 1 March 2018.
The sustainability strategy was widely recognised in 2017. CO2 emissions in the chain (operations including suppliers and customers) are one of the company’s strategic objectives. Compared with 2015, chain emissions have been reduced by 16%. We are also pleased that several indexes and benchmarks, such as the EcoVadis ESG score (Silver Ranking), the PWC benchmark for electricity products, and sustainable power rankings by NGOs in Belgium and the Netherlands, have given good ratings to Eneco Group and its brands.