General Economic Indicators

The results achieved in 2014 met the business goals as expected, bearing out the Company's competitiveness. All main indicators show an uptrend compared to 2013: the EBITDA increased from 675.4 million euros to 717.7 million euros (+6.3%), while EBIT went up from 363.2 million euros to 390.4 million euros (+7,5%), totalling a group profit in the region of 162 million euros (+14.4% over 2013).

It should be stressed that as a result of the application of the new accounting standards, 2013 figures were restated to ensure comparability with the scope pertaining to FY 2014.

TABLE 6 - ACEA GROUP BALANCE SHEET AND P&L HIGHLIGHTS (2013-2014)

(€/m) 2013 (restated) 2014
Net revenues 3.289,0 3.038,3
Operating costs 2.644,0 2.339,3
  Labour costs 238,3 229,5
  External costs 2.405,7 2.109,8
Income/(Charges) from non-financial investments 30,3 18,8
Gross operating margin (EBITDA) 675,4 717,7
Operating income (EBIT) 363,2 390,4
Financial transactions (99.3) (101.2)
Transactions on equity investments (4.8) 0,5
Pre-tax result 259,2 289,8
Income taxes 105,8 120,9
Net result 153,4 168,9
Profit/loss pertaining to minority shareholders 11,4 6,5
Group net result 141,9 162,5

Note: Following changes resulting from the application of the new accounting standards, balance sheet and profit and loss figures at 31/12/2012 were restated for comparative purposes.

Consolidated revenues in 2014 totalled 3,038.3 million euros (3,289 million euros in 2013). In the energy and gas sectors revenues stood at 2,101.4 million euros (-13.1%) and 59 million euros (-7.5%), respectively. Revenues from certificates (white certificates8green certificates9  and CO210  emission rights) showed an increase from 16.4 million euros to 21.6 million euros (+31.7%), mainly due to the green certificates accrued following the repowering of Salisano and Orte hydroelectric plants.

Revenues from public and cemetery lighting stood at 74.8 million euros approximately, showing a 9.3% increase (68.4 million euros in 2013).Revenues from environmental services (waste treatment, landfill management, WDF and compost production) stood at about 39.4 million euros (+8.2%).

Revenues from water management in Italy and abroad showed a balance of 588.1 million euros, increasing by 7.6% compared to 546.3 million euros in 2013, such increase being chiefly due to the positive pricing update and balances paid to Acea Ato 2 and Acea Ato 5.

Gross operating margin (EBITDA) stood at 717.7 million euros11 (+6.3%), with the contribution of all industrial areas and the management efficiency actions taken during the year playing a role to this end. Excluding the corporate area, the following areas contributed to total revenues:

  • Water industrial business (41%), with 292.2 million euros (280.8 million euros in 2013). As mentioned earlier, supporting this uptrend was AEEGSI Water Tariff Method (MTI, Metodo Tariffario Idrico) applicable to companies;
  • Network industrial business (35%), with 253.3 million euros (257.3 million euros in 2013);
  • Energy industrial business (15%), with 111.6 million euros (91.7 million euros in 2013) following an increase in energy margins arising from the sales area;
  • Environment industrial business (8%), with 54.4 million euros following a better performance of plants in Terni and San Vittore del Lazio (48.4 million euros in 2013).

8 The Ministerial Decrees dated 20 July 2004 introduced the so-called white certificates (EEC, Energy Efficiency Certificates) into Italian legislation, fixing the annual primary energy saving goals that every energy and natural gas supplier is required to achieve through the implementation of energy efficiency schemes. The inter-ministerial decree dated 28 December 2012 sets the goals to be reached up to 2016, transferring the responsibility for the energy-saving certification from AEEG to GSE.

9 Until 2012, the green certificates were the main incentive tool for electricity generated from renewable sources (excluding photovoltaic energy) as pursuant to the provisions under Legislative Decree 79/99 (known as "Bersani Decree"). This model was superseded by the Decree of the Ministry for Economic Development No. 6/6/2012 implementing Article 24 of Italian Legislative Decree No. 28/11. The subsidy for energy generated from plants that (i) are fuelled by the above-mentioned renewable sources, (ii) have a nominal power greater than fixed threshold values, and (iii) have been operating since 1 January 2013 is granted according to Dutch auctions managed by GSE. Auction procedures set at any rate a value of the incentive, which is determined taking into account the need to recoup the investments made.

10 The Emission Trading System(ETS - Directive 2003/87/EC) is an administrative tool in force at the EU level aimed at promoting a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) in industrial productions. Launched in 2005, the EU ETS has now reached its third stage (started in 2013), which is expected to reach completion in 2020. According to the current mechanism, the production plants that are covered by the Directive are required to purchase permits (through an auction procedure) to issue CO2 (allowances) in the EU. The transition to the auction system is gradual and it works in such a way as to favour low-carbon productions, i.e. those that need less emission permits and, as a result, incur lower costs to purchase them. As a whole, the ETS covers 45% of the total emissions the 28 EU Member Countries are responsible for. 

11 Revenues from water operations abroad accounted for about 1.3% of water-related total reenues and about 0.2% of the Group total revenues. A brief description of the operations abroad is provided under Operations Abroad

CHART 6 – CONTRIBUTION OF THE BUSINESS AREAS TO OVERALL EBITDA (2013-2014)

CHART 6

EBIT stood at 390.4 million euros (+7,5% compared to 363.2 million euros of the previous financial year). EBIT is determined by the value of amortisation, provisions and depreciation, which stood at 327.3 million euros (+4.8% compared to 312.2 million euros in 2013). Such an increase was due to several trends of its specific items, including on the one hand an increase in doubtful receivables (from 79.6 million euros to 110.2 million euros in 2014) and, on the other hand, a reduction in provisions (from 37.8 million euros to 13.6 million euros in 2014).

TABLE 7 - ACEA GROUP BALANCE SHEET DATA AND NET FINANCIAL POSITION (2013-2014)

(€'000s) 31/12/2013 31/12/2014
Non-current financial assets (liabilities) 2,460 1,710
Intergroup non-current financial assets (liabilities) 32,328 32,580
Payables and other non-current financial liabilities (2,360,907) (3,040,712)
Medium/long-term net financial position (2,326,119) (3,006,422)
Cash on hand and securities 563,066 1,017,967
Short-term amounts due to banks (371,344) (58,161)
Current financial assets (liabilities) (139,566) (103,944)
Intergroup current financial assets (liabilities) 25,323 61,460
Short-term financial position 77,480 917,321
Total net financial position (2,248,640) (2,089,101)
Shareholders' equity 1,406,828 1,502,391
Invested capital 3,655,467 3,591,492

The results for the year had a positive impact on the profitability ratios of both equity capital (ROE) and invested capital (ROIC).

TABLE 8 - KEY PROFITABILITY INDICATORS (2012-2014)

  2012 2013 2014
Return on equity capital
ROE = Result for the year after taxation/shareholders’ equity 5.9% 10.9% 11.2%
ROIC pre-tax = Operating income (EBIT)/invested capital 7.7% 9.9% 10.8%