• Security of supply guaranteed at 100%
• EBITDA falls around 5%, to €118.9 million
• Average cost of debt down to 1.8%
• Energy production from biomass at a maximum power record high and coal power production at record lows.
• Photovoltaic generation reaches 578 MW.
• New all-time high in natural gas transmission of 297.2 GWh.
REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais had a net profit of €4.3 million in the first quarter of 2020, which was €8.9 million down year-on-year, while the recurring net profit was €32.5 million (13.7% down). These results are explained by the negative impact not only of the decrease in EBITDA, but also of the Energy Sector Extraordinary Contribution, which for the first time included Portgás, and this increased the actual tax rate paid by the group to 43.9%.
The net debt increased 5.2% to €2,759.3 million, as a consequence of the purchase and consolidation of Transemel in October 2019. The financial results, however, returned a positive contribution (€1.9 million), insofar as the average cost of the debt fell from 2.3% in the first quarter of 2019 to 1.8% in the first quarter of 2020. This improvement comes alongside continuing high liquidity levels, which guarantees the financing of the company for another two years.
The EBITDA was €118.9 million in the first three months of the year, which is a 5% decrease on the same period in 2019. This decrease is explained by the reduction in the asset base remuneration, affected by the falling remuneration rate of the bonds of the Portuguese Republic and the introduction of a new regulatory framework for Natural Gas. The fall was offset by the international business in Chile, which increased its contribution in REN'S EBITDA.
CAPEX grew €10.2 million to €27 million, with electricity representing 76% of the total. Transfers to the Regulated Asset Base increased €1.2 million to €4.9 million.
The REN General Shareholders' Meeting this morning approved the payment of a dividend of 17.1 euro cents per share.
All-time highs achieved in the first quarter 2020
In the first quarter of the year, the hydropower capability index stood at 0.91 (historical average of 1), whereas the wind-power capability index was 0.86 (historical average of 1). Although these indices were below the historical averages, renewable production supplied 69% of consumption, broken down into 35% for hydropower, 25% for wind power, 6% for biomass, and 1.9% for photovoltaics. Non-renewable production supplied 31% of the consumption, which was almost entirely natural gas, since coal power production was at an all-time low quarter. The balance of the first quarter favoured exports, amounting to around 1% of the domestic consumption.
Energy production using biomass, as well as photovoltaic generation, reached new all-time highs in March. During the month, energy production from biomass reached its maximum power output ever of 416 MW, while photovoltaic generation, as the new parks begin operating, is setting new records: in March the power generated was 578 MW.
In the natural gas market there was a 17.5% increase in consumption at the end of the quarter, stemming from a 90% rise in the electricity market thanks to the competitive conditions of natural gas compared to coal, and from a 1.3% decline in the conventional market. Natural gas consumption in Portugal hit an all-time high in January, with 6750 GWh.
On 23 January, an all-time record of 297.2 GWh was set for natural gas transmission by the national network. The previous maximum was from 05 December 2017, when the natural gas transported reached 275.3 GWh. This figure was reached due to high consumption in Portugal and the fact that the national system has been exporting through its interconnections with Spain. On 23 January, 42 GWh was exported to the Spanish market.
In the first quarter of 2020, an agreement was signed between the EllaLink Group and RENTELECOM to use dark fibres in Portugal and Spain to connect data centres between Europe and Latin America.
At the end of the first quarter, in the wake of the declaration of the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, REN implemented its contingency plan, which remains in force, in line with the guidelines from the Directorate-General of Health. Aware of the difficult time the country is going through, the company has been working non-stop to safeguard the management of the critical operations under its responsibility, while never putting the safety of its employees at risk. As a result of these efforts, there was no impact in the energy supply in Portugal, caused by REN or its infrastructures.
Since the start of the pandemic, REN has involved itself in several initiatives to support the National Health Service, supplying personal protective equipment through the Secretary of State for Health, and supporting the Atena Ventilator project, a ventilator developed by the CEIIA Technology Centre. A total of around €500,000.00 has been donated to these efforts.