•Quality of service remains among the best at global level
•Renewable production fuelled 40% of electricity consumption in Portugal
•Consumption of natural gas reaches record levels in 2017
•Net profit of €125.9M
•EBITDA reaches €487.5M
•Average debt cost decreases to 2.5%
REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais presented a net result of €125.9M in 2017. EBITDA was located in the €487.5M, an increase of 2.4% relative to the same period last year, reflecting the positive contribution of the three months of consolidation of Portgás and Chilean Electrogás results.
The net result grew 25.7% in 2017, driven by a solid financial performance, sustained in the withdrawal of the average debt cost to 2.5%, compared to the 3.2% registered in 2016. At the end of 2017, the average maturity of debt was above four years.
The financial performance continued to be affected by the negative effect of the EESC, which totalled the amount of €25.8M in this period, placing the tax rate paid by REN at 38.4% of the results.
REN's Board of Directors will propose the payment of a 17.1 cents dividend per share to the general shareholders' meeting, in line with Ren's dividend policy and the proposed value in 2016.
Natural gas consumption in Portugal recorded its highest values ever, totalling 69.7 TWh, 21% above the previous annual maximum, which took place in 2010, and 25% above the value recorded in 2016. The consumption of electricity amounted to 49.6 TWh, with a growth of 0.7% in comparison with the previous year, or +1.4% when correcting for temperature and working days, 5% below its all-time high, reached in 2010.
In that same period, renewable production supplied 40% of the electricity consumption (including the exporting balance), with the hydroelectric plants accounting for 11% of the consumption, wind farms for 23%, biomass for 5% and photovoltaic for 1.6%. Regarding non-renewable production, it supplied the remaining 60% of consumption, broken down between natural gas with 34% and coal with 26%, with the exporting balance recorded in this period corresponding to 5.4% of domestic consumption.
Service quality remained at very high levels, with REN's effective and preventive management of resources enabling recording 0 seconds of interruption in natural gas and 6.6 seconds in electricity, below the 20.4 seconds recorded in 2016. Despite the fires that dramatically hit the country in 2017, REN's service quality remained among the best worldwide, also as a result of the company's joint work with the national and regional civil protection authorities and fire brigades.
The Sines LNG Terminal also recorded a record by downloading 42 ships in 2017, 91% above the highest recorded value since 2009 (22 discharges). These results demonstrate the essential role of the national infrastructures of natural gas and electricity in the guarantee of supply of consumption, and these are planned and designed to meet the coincidental demands of consumers, ensuring its full supply without restrictions on consumption and thereby guaranteeing the exercise of the productive activities that depend on them.
At the beginning of 2017, REN achieved the purchase of 42.5% of the share capital of Electrogás S.A. to ENEL Generación Chile S. A, an acquisition that constitutes an important milestone in the internationalization of REN, in line with the strategic plan presented to 2015-2018, in which it was decisive the strong knowledge that REN holds in the natural gas sector in Portugal, as well as the high levels of efficiency and quality of service that characterize its operation.
In the last quarter of 2017, the acquisition of Portgás was completed, a company which centres its activity on the development and operation of the public natural gas distribution network in the coastal region of the north of Portugal (29 municipalities in the districts of Porto, Braga and Viana do Castelo), currently being the second largest natural gas distributor in Portugal, with a 4,460-kilometre network. This investment makes REN a relevant asset in the domestic natural gas distribution market with a potential growth, given the demographic and economic characteristics of the concession region, symbolizing the company's strong commitment to its operation in Portugal, in line with its business development strategy.
With these investments, REN kept its financial rating as Investment Grade in the three largest financial rating agencies - Moody's, Fitch and S&P.
REN, in 2017, planted 130,298 trees, in an area of approximately 478 hectares, and cleared 7,800 hectares of easement corridors, which raises the number of trees planted in the 2010-2017 period to 818 thousand, totalling 1,923 hectares, and the cleared easement corridor area in the 2013-2017 period to 20,000 hectares.
Still in 2017, we should note the parliamentary initiative to partially reverse REN's privatization, which would be rejected in the Portuguese Parliament on 14 June by the majority of its members.