- Outlook for 2009 confirmed
- International growth: Essent takeover completed
- Investment continues at record levels
- Workforce increases
During the first nine months of fiscal 2009, RWE’s electricity and gas operations proved robust, even during the economic crisis, producing solid results in most business divisions. However, declining oil prices and a disappointing UK earnings situation took their toll. Despite this, RWE confirms its outlook for the year as a whole. Excluding Essent, operating result and recurrent net income will be in the order of the previous year. In addition, in the fourth quarter, the earnings of new Dutch subsidiary Essent will contribute to the Group result for the first time. Despite the poor economic climate, RWE is persisting with its current investment programme. Compared to the same period last year, capital expenditure on property, plant and equipment rose by almost 50%.
Group revenue slightly below level of previous year
In the first three quarters of 2009, the RWE Group generated external revenue of €33.8 billion. Compared to the same period last year, this represents a decline of 2%. Adjusted for currency effects, revenue remained stable. Since almost all of RWE’s 2009 electricity production was sold before the start of the economic crisis, the decline in electricity consumption only had a minor impact on the company. The fact that electricity sales dropped by 12% to 207.4 billion kWh is primarily attributable to an accounting effect: trade in externally procured electricity is not recorded under RWE sales. The volume of this external trade increased considerably, since it was sometimes more economical to meet supply commitments by purchasing electricity on the exchange via RWE Supply & Trading than to cover demand from the company’s own power plants. Adjusted for RWE Supply & Trading’s power trading activities, electricity sales actually improved slightly, despite the recession-driven decline in industrial output. The reason for this was new customer acquisition by RWE Energy in the distributor segment. Gas sales fell 8% below the level of the first three quarters of the previous year, primarily due to the economic downturn.
Operating result down by 4%
There was a positive trend in the financial performance of RWE’s continental European generation, grid and retail activities in the first three quarters of the year. In this respect, RWE remained largely unaffected by the poor economic climate. RWE Supply &Trading doubled the result of its energy trading and gas midstream operations. The fact that the operating result of the Group as a whole declined by 4% to €5,534 million was due to two factors. Firstly, the result of RWE npower in the UK fell by more than half, due to the extreme price and cost pressures in that market. Secondly, lower oil prices meant RWE Dea experienced a decline of similar proportions. Recurrent net income, the decisive figure for determining the dividend, decreased by 7% to €2,871 million for the same reasons.
Since the start of the year, the RWE Group has attracted around 58,000 new residential and commercial customers to its German electricity business. The positive trend in RWE’s customer numbers, which first emerged in the middle of last year, has thus stabilised. Our subsidiary “eprimo” continued on its successful path, with 600,000 electricity customers signed up by the end of the third quarter. Since April 2009, “eprimo” has also been offering a fixed-rate product; so far, some 138,000 customers have taken up this offer.
Workforce continues to grow
The workforce increase of almost 8% – more than 5,000 full-time employees – is attributable both to the takeover of the Dutch utility and to recruitment in other growth areas. Some 4,300 new full-time positions resulted from the Essent takeover alone, while operational changes also led to the creation of more than 120 new jobs. As at the end of September 2009, RWE employed a total of almost 71,000 staff.
Outlook for fiscal 2009 confirmed
“We will make up for the slight decline in the course of the current quarter”, said RWE’s CEO Dr. Juergen Grossmann, confirming the outlook for 2009. The positive trend experienced by RWE Power and RWE Supply & Trading is the main reason why the Group will be able to compensate for the lengthy outage of both nuclear power plant units in Biblis. Measures to enhance efficiency and reduce costs by €450 million by the end of 2009 compared to 2006 are on target. Furthermore, the additional efficiency programme in the UK will take effect in the fourth quarter. This means the key financial indicators – the operating result and recurrent net income, excluding Essent – will be in the order of last year, as previously forecast. In addition, Essent will be contributing around €100 million to the operating result of the Group in the fourth quarter.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the future development of the RWE Group and its companies as well as economic and political developments. These statements are assessments that we have made based on information available to us at the time this document was prepared. In the event that the underlying assumptions do not materialise or additional risks arise, actual performance can deviate from the performance expected at present. Therefore, we cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy of these statements.