REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais achieved a net profit of €86.3M in the first nine months of the year, a 5% year-on-year drop. The results were penalised by the tax burden, which translated into an effective tax rate of 39.5%, with the Energy Sector Extraordinary Contribution (CESE) representing €24.4M.
EBITDA was €368M, a year-on-year variation of -2.7%. As expected, the evolution of this indicator stems from the fall in remuneration rates, as a result of the reduction in interest rates on Treasury Bonds and on the Regulated Asset Base.
The financial results had a positive contribution (9.3%), benefiting from the decrease in Net Debt (-2.2%) and from the continuous reduction in the average cost of debt (2.2% in the first nine months of 2019, versus 2.3% in the first nine months of 2018).
CAPEX increased 64.1% to €110.3M, while transfers to the Asset Base rose 84.8%, to €60.1M.
At the operational level, in addition to maintaining the usual high service level standards, the first nine months of the year were marked by new historical values of maximum national power: wind generation reached 4646 MW in March, and photovoltaic generation, which in July had around 650 MW of installed capacity, exceeded 500 MW of peak power for the first time. These numbers highlight the increasing weight of renewable power, reflecting the energy transition policy priorities.
Production was divided between renewable sources with 45%, non-renewable sources with 44%, and imports (the remaining 11%). In renewable sources, wind power supplied 24% of consumption, hydropower 14%, biomass 5% and photovoltaics 2.3%. Among non-renewable sources, natural gas supplied 32% and coal 12%. Coal production was in decline during the period, particularly in August and September, months when coal-fired power plants had the lowest ever use in the domestic system.
At the end of the third quarter, accumulated annual consumption of electricity recorded a negative year-on-year evolution of 2.1%, or -1% when correcting for temperature and working days. Natural gas consumption recorded a positive year-on-year change of 2.6%, with an increase of 8.2% in the electricity market and keeping it even on the conventional market. The use of the Sines LNG terminal was the highest ever, with the operation of 51 ships.
In this period, REN's Datacentre in Riba de Ave received the first supercomputer to operate in Portugal, marking the start of the activities of the 'Minho Advanced Computing Centre' of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, which increased the national computing capacity by around tenfold.
Since 12 July, and in order to ensure a balance between production and consumption, REN has started a pilot project for the participation of consumption in the adjustment reserve market. After the closing of the first nine months of the year, on 1 October, REN acquired the entire share capital of Transemel, for €168.6 million. This transaction was financed by debt. Following the announcement of this acquisition, the three main financial rating agencies, Moody's, S&P and Fitch, reaffirmed REN's rating as Investment grade.
With the acquisition of Transemel, REN strengthened one of its medium and long-term objectives by expanding its international presence. Predominantly located in northern Chile, Transemel operates 92 km of power transmission lines and five substations, with approximately 93% of its revenue coming from regulated activities. This acquisition is in line with REN's strategic plan, which is supported by a conservative growth strategy.