- Significant decline in earnings from power generation
- Operating result down 40%
- Outlook from May 2014 confirmed
The mild winter and the resulting low demand for heating, together with the continuing low level of prices on the electricity markets, led to a significant decline in RWE’s earnings for the first half of 2014. Compared to the first half of 2013, EBITDA fell by 32% to EUR 3.4 billion, while the operating result was down 40% to EUR 2.3 billion. The result for 2013 did, however, include a substantial one-off income resulting from the arbitral ruling in the price revision proceedings with Gazprom. Recurrent net income, adjusted for one-off effects, was down 62% to EUR 0.7 billion. This reflects the difficult operational situation the RWE Group is facing. In addition, the earnings from RWE Dea are no longer included in these figures, since the upstream business is being sold and is disclosed as a “discontinued operation” with retrospective effect from 1 January 2014. At EUR 25.1 billion, RWE Group revenue was down 10% year on year.
More power stations to be taken offline
Because of the significant deterioration in prices on the wholesale electricity market, RWE Generation plans to decommission around 1,000 megawatts (MW) of additional generation capacity by 2017 as well as terminating further supply contracts for the use of around 500 MW of capacity. This takes the generating capacity of power stations that RWE is either totally or partially taking offline in continental Europe or no longer utilising on account of the difficult market conditions for conventional power generation to around 9,000 MW.
“Conventional power generation is losing ground – not just at RWE. Figures from the Federal Network Agency indicate that, up to 2018, more secured power station capacity will have to be taken offline than is added through capital investment. This does not bode well for security of supply, to which wind and solar can make little contribution” says Peter Terium, CEO of RWE AG. He expressed his support for a market design which compensates companies that keep secured generation capacity on tap. “With a capacity market that is non-discriminatory and open to all technologies, Germany could create an economically feasible basis to continue to operate indispensable generation facilities – and thus supplement the expansion of renewable energy.” At the same time, he stressed, “But we will not rely on the actions taken by the government. The command of our business and our commercial success mainly depend on us.”
Electricity generation – Electricity sales – Gas sales
In the first half of 2014, electricity generation declined by 11% to 100.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). This reflects the impact of decommissioning two power stations in the UK (Didcot A and Tilbury), as well as the reduced operating hours of the gas-fired power plants in Continental Europe.
Electricity sales declined by 6% to 128.4 billion kWh, which was due to both the mild winter and a slight decrease in customer numbers. The decline in electricity sales also reflects the strong trend toward saving energy among all customer groups.
The mild weather had an even greater impact on gas sales, which fell 22% to 148.2 billion kWh due to the lower demand for heating. At the same time, competitive pressure is growing with regard to industrial customers, with those in the Netherlands in particular increasingly switching gas providers.
RWE’s headcount at the end of June was 62,693, or 5,888 less than one year ago and 2,203 less than at the end of 2013. This decrease is mainly attributable to rationalisation measures, although it is also influenced by the effects of the sale of companies, which accounted for the departure of 609 employees from the Group.
RWE confirms its outlook for the full year that was released in May 2014. Because RWE Dea is disclosed under “discontinued operations” with retrospective effect from 1 January, the upstream business is no longer considered in the outlook for revenue, EBITDA, operating result or capital expenditure. Excluding RWE Dea, the Group expects external revenue in fiscal 2014 in the order of EUR 51 billion, EBITDA of between EUR 6.4 and EUR 6.8 billion, and an operating result of EUR 3.9 to EUR 4.3 billion. Recurrent net income – including the interest on the sale price for RWE Dea – should be in the order of EUR 1.2 to EUR 1.4 billion. The sale of RWE Dea is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
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.
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