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Focus on cash flows as power prices fall: lower investment and dividends

  • 15 Mar 16

Given the market environment, the group showed a good operating performance with revenue increasing by 3.1% yoy to €2,969m and EBITDA increasing 10% to €888m, positively boosted by one-offs. On an adjusted basis, however, EBITDA decreased by 6% yoy reaching €839m as the reversal on grid revenue provisions linked to SNT-VO and SNE-VO are non-recurring items with a €50m positive effect on earnings. The bottom line results were better than expected due to lower financial expenses (-55%yoy) and taxes reaching €207.7m (+64% yoy). On an adjusted basis, net profit reached €268.9m, which is a 24% yoy increase. Cash flows remained strong despite deteriorating conditions as operating cash flows decreased 6% yoy to €673.9m, where lower capex (-37% yoy), dividend payments (-62% yoy), added to €441m from divestments, have allowed the group to repay €893m of outstanding debt without any new debt begin issued, while maintaining free cash flow relatively flat at -€12.8m. In terms of guidance, the group has made clear its worries concerning lower power price developments as it now targets €750m in EBITDA and €230m in net income. The lower than expected dividend at €0.30/ps has been proposed, corresponding to a 50.2% pay-out on the reported basis and only 38.8% on the adjusted one. This amount was a last minute measure taken by Verbund’s board as a €0.35 dividend proposal was written in the annual report, with a later adhoc document stating the downward revision on the dividend payment to €0.30.