- EUR 1.6 billion operating result for the quarter according to plan
- Considerable growth in result for Renewables Division
- Significant decline in net debt due to sale of RWE Dea
- Drop in margins and new political risks in conventional power generation
Business performance progressed as planned during the first quarter of 2015. As expected, the continued drop in margins in conventional electricity generation resulted in earnings shortfalls. RWE's EBITDA declined by 3% to EUR 2.2 billion. The operating result fell by 5% to EUR 1.6 billion. By contrast, recurrent net income improved by 10% to EUR 877 million. This resulted from one-off items from the sale of securities, which had a positive effect on the financial result. External revenue increased by 3%, to EUR 14.6 billion.
Earnings achieved by the Renewables Division posted substantial growth in the first three months of the year. RWE Innogy improved its operating result by 56% compared to the same period in the previous year, to EUR 151 million. This was largely due to the commissioning of new wind turbines. For example, the Welsh offshore wind farm Gwynt y Môr already produced electricity from a large portion of its 576-megawatt (MW) capacity in the first quarter. The construction of the Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm (290 MW) near Heligoland is also at an advanced stage. "These investments are increasingly paying off," said Peter Terium, CEO of RWE AG. Gwynt y Môr and Nordsee Ost are scheduled to begin generating electricity commercially from all turbines in the middle of 2015. "They will start to provide stable returns at that point," Terium added.
Significant decline in net debt due to the sale of RWE Dea
As at 31 March 2015, the RWE Group’s net debt amounted to EUR 27.7 billion, which was significantly lower than as at 31 December 2014 (EUR 31.0 billion). The main reason for this was the sale of RWE Dea to the LetterOne Group, which, including the interest on the sale price, had an impact of EUR 5.3 billion. The sale was successfully completed at the beginning of March. Some of the conditions had to be adjusted compared to the original sale agreement, but at EUR 5.1 billion, the enterprise value of RWE Dea was unchanged.
Slight increase in electricity sales volumes. Gas sales benefited from cooler weather
In the first three months of the year, RWE sold 68.4 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity to external customers, 2% more than in the previous year's period. This is partly due to the 9% increase in electricity generation volumes to 56.5 billion kWh.
RWE's gas sales volumes rose considerably in the first quarter, by 13% to 112.0 billion kWh. A positive effect came as temperatures normalised compared to the very mild weather in the previous year's period: more gas was used for heating.
Capital expenditure down 45% year on year
At EUR 414 million, the RWE Group’s capital expenditure was 45% lower than in the previous year’s period. There was a considerable drop in spending in the Conventional Power Generation Division, thanks to the progress made on the two new dual-block hard coal power stations - one at Eemshaven in the Netherlands (1,554 MW) and the other at Hamm in Germany (1,528 MW). Capital expenditure in the Renewables Division also declined significantly. In the first quarter of 2014, the offshore wind farms Gwynt y Môr and Nordsee Ost were still under construction, whereas now they are in their commissioning phases.
Outlook for 2015 unchanged
RWE confirms its outlook for the 2015 fiscal year that was released in March 2015. The Group still anticipates that EBITDA will be between EUR 6.1 billion and EUR 6.4 billion and its operating result will total between EUR 3.6 billion and EUR 3.9 billion, with recurrent net income expected to be between EUR 1.1 billion and EUR 1.3 billion.
New political risks in conventional power generation
At the end of March, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy put forward plans for meeting the country’s climate protection targets, under which power stations more than 20 years old will be subject to an additional levy from 2017 if their emissions exceed certain annual limits. A financial burden of this nature would have a substantial negative economic impact on RWE's lignite mines and lignite-fired power stations.
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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 RWE has made based on information available to the company 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, RWE cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy of these statements.