Report on operations 2019
The Helen Group consists of the parent company Helen Ltd and its subsidiaries Helen Electricity Network Ltd, Oy Mankala Ab, and Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy. The associated companies of Helen Ltd are Liikennevirta Oy, Voimapiha Oy and Suomen Merituuli Oy, the subsidiary Suomen Energiaurakointi Oy was sold on 30 April 2019, after which it is not reported in the Group figures.
Helen Ltd offers its customers electricity, district heating and district cooling, along with a wide range of services for small-scale energy production and the customers' own energy use and improving its efficiency. Helen Ltd produces energy at its power stations and other production plants located in Helsinki, as well as through its power assets. Helen Ltd is owned by the City of Helsinki
Helen Electricity Network Ltd (100%) concentrates on electricity network operations in compliance with the Electricity Market Act and provides transmission and distribution services to its customers in almost the entire City of Helsinki. The net sales of Helen Electricity Network Ltd account for approx. 14% of the Helen Group's net sales.
Oy Mankala Ab (100%) is a hydropower company that owns the Mankala, Ahvenkoski, Klåsarö and Ediskoski hydropower plants by the Kymijoki River. Oy Mankala Ab's holding in Teollisuuden Voima Oy is 8.1%, in Suomen Hyötytuuli Oy 12.5% and in Suomen Merituuli Oy 50%.
Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy (90%) serves the energy, water supply and telecommunication networks. The City of Helsinki's holding in Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy is 10%.
Financial year 2019
Helen’s financial results remained excellent in the business year 2019. Our successful measures in the electricity market, along with the fuel price trend, improved our profitability.
Strategic measures have been targeted at regional renewable energy, smart buildings and electric-vehicle use. Helen’s business operations have remained at a good level, and Helen has also continued its internal renewal and implemented its strategy in its daily work.
Helen has succeeded in increasing its customer numbers further. The number of households’ customer contracts exceeded the limit of 500,000, and about one third of Finns are encompassed by Helen’s energy services.
The first and last months of the year were warmer than normal, due to which the volume of district heat production was lower than estimated. Competition in the electricity retail market has remained highly competitive. In the electricity wholesale market, Helen’s versatile production, particularly the volume of natural gas production, was increased in a flexible manner by making use of increases in the price level. The sales of our new services (solar power plants, electric-vehicle use, electricity storage facilities) have developed positively.
The availability of power lands was excellent and the optimation of energy production succeeded well. The production of hydropower plants continued to decline as a result of a poor water supply situation.
Group’s profit trend
The Group’s reported net sales fell from the previous year. The development of net sales was impacted by the cost-based price changes of district heat, the electricity price reached in the electricity market and the sales volume of retail electricity. The drop in the comparable net sales was due to the sale of Suomen Energia-Urakointi Oy in the middle of the financial year.
Helen Group’s results grew significantly on the previous year due to an increase in the parent company’s operating profit. Helen Ltd was able to utilise the electricity market situation and fluctuations in the market by a number of successful measures taken in the electricity wholesale market. The fuel price trend and the profitable growth in the retail electricity business also improved the operating profit. The net sales and profitability of Helen Electricity Network Ltd showed a positive trend as well.
The net sales for 2019 totalled EUR 914 million (EUR 930 in 2018) and the operating profit stood at EUR.177 million (EUR 131 million). At 6,752 GWh, the electricity sales volume grew by 3% on the previous year. The district heat sales totalled 6,523 GWh, down by 3% on the year before. The district cooling sales stood at 171 GWh, a fall of 9%. Electricity distribution in Helsinki remained at the previous year’s level, standing at 4,383 GWh.
Group and parent company: Key figures 2018
|Net sales, EUR mill.
|Operating profit, EUR mill.
|Operating profit, % of net sales
|Profit before appropriations, EUR mill.
|Investments, EUR mill.
|Return on equity (ROE), %
|Employees as of 31 December
|Total equity and liabilities,
Balanse sheet, EUR. mill
Equity ratio % = 100 * own funds / balance sheet total
Own funds = shareholders' equity + untaxed reserves + depreciation difference deducted by tax
Return on capital invested % = 100 * (profit before appropriations + financing costs + tax) / average capital invested
Capital invested = balance sheet total + non-interest-bearing debt
Helen is making investments to increase the use of renewable energy in district heat production, recycling of energy with heat pumps and improving the security of supply in energy networks in particular.
Helen Group's investments totalled EUR 69 million. The investments in the parent company’s production structure amounted to EUR 43 million. Of this amount, the investments in the district heating and district cooling networks totalled EUR 16 million. Investments in the electricity network stood at EUR 22 million.
Helen invested EUR 2 million both in Oy Mankala Ab and the tunnel network. The rest of investments were targeted at new services and hydro power production.
In accordance with its financial policy, Helen Ltd manages the financing of its subsidiaries in a centralised way. The Group's equity ratio was 77%, and the amount of interest-bearing debts EUR 415 million (EUR 569 million) at the close of the financial year.
The interest-bearing debts of Helen Ltd consist of the subordinated loan (EUR 157 million), bullet, with a fixed 6% interest, taken out from the owner, a so-called senior debt (EUR 211 million) taken out from the owner, and loans taken out from financial institutions (EUR 42 million).
Helen Electricity Network Ltd has an extra-Group loan of EUR 5 million. The loan of Oy Mancala Ab taken out from the State Nuclear Waste Management Fund that amounted to EUR 84 million was paid in full, after which Mankala has no interest-bearing debts.
Helen Ltd has a commercial-paper programme of EUR 100 million, which has not been used yet.
The registered and fully paid share capital of Helen Ltd is EUR 600 million. The total number of shares is 1,000. The City of Helsinki owns all the shares.
Key events during the financial period
- Helen decided to initiate the planning of a new bioenergy heating plant to be built in Vuosaari. At the same time, it was possible to confirm the closing of the Hanasaari power plant after the necessary solutions to replace heat production were secured.
- Together with Vantaa Energy Ltd and Lahti Energia Oy, Helen decided to sell the shares of its subsidiary Suomen Energia-Urakointi Oy to KSS Energia Oy. The contracting company will continue to operate as a subsidiary of KSS Energia as of the beginning of May.
- A decision was made to build a heat pump in Vuosaari utilising the heat of sea water. Construction will start in 2020, and the new heat pump will be commissioned in 2022.
- Helen became a partner of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium with a common objective of improving energy efficiency. New environment- and energy-friendly solutions are introduced at the Olympic Stadium, which is undergoing modernisation.
- Helen launched a new virtual battery service to solar panel buyers. The virtual battery is a step towards a new kind of cleaner energy production, in which Helen’s customers are also taking part.
- A unique city refinery is developed in Vuosaari in a joint project between Helen, Lassila & Tikanoja and VTT. Launched in 2019, the project pursues utilisation of materials and energy according to the circular economy. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment granted energy aid of EUR 7.9 million to Helen for the investment.
- The first phase of the study on excess heat in Kilpilahti was completed. In Kilpilahti, the excess heat of Kilpilahti could meet about a quarter of the district heating demand of the entire Helsinki region.
- The City of Helsinki and Helen agreed on the delivery of a total of 59 new electric-vehicle charging points in the Helsinki city centre.
- Helen and Paulig launched a joint excess heat utilisation pilot at the Vuosaari coffee roastery. A new technical solution enables recovery of excess heat in quantities sufficient to cover the annual heat demand of 1,000 one-bedroom apartments. The recycling of excess heat generated by the production processes of the food industry to be utilised in the district heating network is unique in the Helsinki region.
- In August, Messukeskus Helsinki and Helen Ltd opened one of the largest solar power plants in Helsinki on the hall roofs of the Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre. The solar power plant started operation at the end of August and the beginning of September 2019. The construction of an extension also started at the same time.
- In sales, a new type of trainee programme was launched in September. Helen is aiming for strong growth through new energy solutions, and the sales organisation is being strengthened with the trainee programme.
- Helen launched the new Helen Ventures investment with an aim to speed up the shift in the energy sector together with start-up partners. Helen Ventures is a strategic investor, which supports growth companies reforming the energy sector. Helen is investing about 50 million euros during the first five years.
- Helen sold the natural gas sales and distribution business to Suomen Kaasuenergia on 31 December 2019. The divested business has five corporate customers in Helsinki.
Helen Ltd had 863 (838) employees at the end of the year. The number of permanent employees was 818 (816), and the number of fixed-term employee s45 (22). The average number of employees was 861 (870). The average age of the employees was 46.2.(47.0) years, and the average length of employment was 15.9 (16.9) years. A total of EUR 49.4 million (EUR 47.3 million) was paid as wages and salaries in 2019.
Helen Electricity Network Ltd had 94 (98) employees at the end of the year. The number of permanent employees was 91 (96) and the number of fixed-term employees 3 (2). The average number of employees was 96 (105). The average age of the employees was 45.4 (44.9) years, and the average length of employment was 14.1 (13.9) years. Wages and salaries amounted to EUR 6.3 million (EUR 6.6 million) in 2019.
The rest of the subsidiaries, Oy Mankala Ab and Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy had no employees at the end of 2019.
Research and development
A City Refinery is a concept launched by Helen, Lassila-Tiikanoja and VTT, referring to the circular economy. The companies are exploring opportunities to utilise society’s underutilised material flows as raw materials in different end products according the circular economy. At the same time, the waste heat of the process is conducted to the district heating network. A production plant to be established in Vuosaari is being planned. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment granted energy aid of EUR 7.9 million to Helen for the investment in December.
Helen is assessing the applicability of Small Modular Reactors to Helen’s energy system. Helen has been involved in the preparations of the SMR ecosystem project coordinated by VTT, and the project will be launched in the early part of the year. We have been discussing various technology concepts with unit suppliers. An update of the Nuclear Energy Act will be started soon, and Helen will be involved in the work together with Finnish Energy.
Helen is involved in several research projects coordinated by VTT, funded by the EU. Among such projects are, e.g., the Fletch (Flexible combined production of power, heat and transport fuels from renewable energy sources) project and the VA BISYS (Value-optimised use of biomass in a flexible energy infrastructure) project.
The development of products and services has continued in services related to energy efficiency, the solar business and in electric traffic.
Helen is investigating possibilities for utilising geothermal heat. Geological surveys were carried out jointly with Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) in Helsinki towards the end of the year, and follow-up measures will be decided on the basis of the research findings. Geothermal heat is considered a possible solution for partly replacing of the use of coal in the Salmisaari power plant.
Internal control and risk management
The aim of our risk management measures is to ensure the security of energy supply and safeguard and increase the value of the Helen Group in the long term. Within the company, risk management means a systematic and proactive way of identifying, analysing and managing uncertainties related to operations. Comprehensive risk management is a business-oriented, systematic and standardised procedure that steers decision-making and operations throughout the organisation.
It is the responsibility of Helen's management to ensure that the company has efficient risk management and internal control practices with regard to the extent and content of its economy and business operations. With regard to the extent and structure of its operations, the company has extensively assessed the most significant risks and uncertainty factors, as well as other factors affecting operational development.
Internal control and risk management have been organised by including risk-management thinking in all activities of the company. Operating principles and the risk management handbook have been updated for energy trading. The energy trading principles and associated risk management practices outlined in the risk management handbook have been approved by Helen's Board of Directors.
The comprehensive development programme for risk management includes, e.g., a risk maturity model and year clock. The maturity model assesses the present level of risk management and sets a target level for it. Improvement of risk management is based on measures that help to achieve the target level. The Management Group of Helen Ltd assesses the level of risk management annually y.
The most important uncertainty factor in the long-term development of business operations is the operating environment, where steering mechanisms, goals and schedules are constantly changing as a result of political decision-making. In a situation like this, it is challenging to plan long-term investments related to climate-neutral energy production. Our plans are clear, however. Helen will phase out the use of coal by 2029 at the latest, and our energy production will be carbon-neutral in 2035.
Significant business risks are mainly related to the strong fluctuation of the electricity market and its increasingly poor predictability. Competition in the electricity retail market is also becoming tighter. The fluctuations of electricity exchange prices result in business risks in wholesale and end-customer sales, as well as in electricity procurement. The Group is preparing itself for risks by hedging procurement and sales and by selling derivatives. In fuel procurement, the key risks are the volume and price risks. These risks are managed by using procurement and derivative contracts.
Significant operational risks can result in failures in production plants or networks and interruptions in production. This will give rise to additional costs in energy procurement and possible disruptions to energy supply. The production plants manage operational risks, e.g., through proactive maintenance of equipment and networks, condition monitoring and personnel training. The level and capabilities of cybersecurity are constantly assessed and improved.
The employment pension insurances and group life insurances have been taken out at Keva. The rest of insurances Ars are divided between four different insurance companies. The insurance protection covers damages to property, damage due to business interruptions, damage to third-parties, personal injuries and vehicle damage. It has been ensured that the coverage and excess levels of the insurances correspond to the insurance companies' risk-bearing capacity.
Helen aims for carbon neutrality in 2035. We will phase out the use of coal. even before 2035, by 2029 at the latest. Mitigation of climate change will. have a key impact on the planning of future energy solutions and investments. Investments will be carried out in stages to reduce emissions and to increase share of renewable energy sources with the opportunities offered by all new technologies We also develop new energy solutions together with our customers. The energy production of Helen Ltd falls within the scope of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
The impacts of the local emissions from Helen's energy production on air quality in the Greater Helsinki area are monitored as part of the air quality monitoring carried out by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY. The results of the monitoring show that the impacts of energy production on the air quality of Helsinki are minimal.
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of Helen Ltd (1/2019) was held on 29 March 2019.KPMG Oy Ab was selected as the company's auditor. The auditor with the main responsibility was Kaija Pakkanen, Authorised Public Accountant. There was a change of auditor with the main responsibility; since May 2019, the auditor with the main responsibility has been Esa Kalliala, Authorised Public Accountant at KPMG Oy Ab.
Board of Directors
In the Annual General Meeting held on 29 March 2019, Osmo Soininvaara, Wille Rydman, Kaisa Hernberg, Marko Karvinen, Hillevi Mannonen, Timo Piekkari, Sirpa Puhakka and Daniel Sazonov were elected to the Board of Directors, along with a new member, Pirja Heiskanen to replace Hanna-Marreplace Hanna-Maria Heikkinen. Osmo Soininvaara was re-elected as Chairman of the Board and Wille Rydman as Deputy Chairman.
In addition, the owner has exercised its power of decision on 17 June 2019 by appointing Sallamaari Muhonen to replace Kaisa Hernberg, who resigned from the company’s Board of Directors, for the remainder of the term of office as of 1 July 2019. The Board of Directors convened 16 times. Four of the meetings were email meetings. The attendance percentage of the Board members in Board meeting was 94.4%.
The Board of Directors convened 16 times. Four of the meetings were email meetings. The attendance percentage of the Board members in Board meetings was 94.4%.
The Board committees
The Board committees are the Audit Committee and the Personnel and Rewards Committee. The committees help the Board in carrying out its duties.
The members of the Audit Committee are Hillevi Mannonen as Chairman, and Hanna-Maria Heikkinen and Sirpa Puhakka as members. On 29 March 2019, the Board appointed Pirja Heiskanen to replace Hanna-Maria Heikkinen.
The committee meetings were regularly attended by the chief Financial Officer and the vice President, General Counsel, as the secretary of the committee, as well as by the auditor and any other experts that the committee had invited at any given time. The Audit Committee convened seven times during the year 2019.
The members of the Personnel and Rewards Committee were Osmo Soininvaara as Chairman and Wille Rydman and Timo Piekkari as members. The committee meetings were regularly attended by the President and CEO, and the Human Resources Manager as the secretary of the committee. The Personnel and Rewards Committee convened five times in 2019.
President and CEO
After Pekka Manninen, who has acted as President and CEO of Helen Ltd, announced his intention to retire in spring 2020, the Board launched a headhunting project for a new CEO. In its meeting on 26 September 2019, the Board appointed Juha-Pekka Weckstöm, M.Sc. (Tech.) as the new President and CEO of Helen Ltd as of 1 April 2020. Director Kauno Kaija, who has acted as a deputy for the President and CEO, retired on 31 December 2019.
During the financial period, a total of EUR 664,712 (EUR 550,195) was paid as salaries, fees and bonuses to the members of the company's Board of Directors and to the President and CEO and his deputy.
The Board of Directors' proposal for the distribution of dividends
The distributable equity of the parent company Helen Ltd stands at EUR 1,366,080,916.54, of which the profits from the previous financial years amount to EUR 36,969,150.56 and the profit from the financial year to EUR 77,939,372.53.
The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that the company should pay a dividend of EUR 68,000.00/share, totalling EUR 68,000,000.00, and that EUR 46,908,523.09 should be held as retained earnings. The Board of Directors proposes that the distribution of dividends should take place on 30 April 2020. The liquidity of the company is good, and the Board of Directors takes the view that the profit distribution will not jeopardise the company's liquidity.
Price fluctuations in the electricity wholesale market are expected to gain strength in the next few years along with the rise in variable production. Competitiveness in the price of district heat will remain at a good level; due to the investment in carbon neutrality, it will remain competitive and in demand also in the future.
The natural gas market was opened to competition from the beginning of 2020 when the natural gas distribution and energy sales in the wholesale market were unbundled. As a result of the opening up of the market, the competitiveness of natural gas is expected to rise.
During the current government term, one of the biggest targets with regard to the energy sector is the comprehensive reform of energy taxation. From Helen’s point of view, the most important area with a need for reform is related to the change of the electricity tax class for heat pumps producing heat to the district heating network from the current tax class I to tax class II. The change is necessary for making district heating carbon neutral. Helen is actively promoting the fact that the comprehensive reform of energy taxation will take account of the steering effect of emissions trading as well as the new solutions in heat production and the customer end, and that it would not put an unreasonable tax burden on current heat production and that way increase the costs to customers.
In accordance with the strategy confirmed in spring 2019, Helen's answer to the shift in the energy sector is to invest strongly in the solutions business, e.g. in regional renewable energy, smart building solutions and electric traffic, and to build partnerships that support Helen’s strategy. Forces are joined with customers in order to build a carbon-neutral future.
Helen aims to be carbon-neutral by 2035.The use of coal will be phased out even earlier, in 2029 at the latest. The Hanasaari power plant will be closed by the end of 2024, and its heat production will be replaced with heat recovery using heat pumps, energy storage and the bioenergy heating plant to be built in Vuosaari. The related investment decision was made in January 2020. A bioenergy heating plant is needed to cover the heating demand of Helsinki also during cold winters. The heating plant is scheduled for commissioning in the heating season 2022-2023, i.e. about a year earlier than anticipated.
The designed size of the bioenergy heating plant is 260 MWh and the investment value of the project is about EUR 260 million. The investment is not estimated to impact the price of district heating. In the Salmisaari power plant, coal will be replaced in 2029 at the latest; our aim is to find a solution not based on firing.
The results for 2020 are estimated be at the previous year’s level. The company’s outlook for the future is characterised by increasing uncertainty in the energy market resulting from the growing share of weather-dependent production in the Nordic energy market and the deregulation of the natural gas market. These factors will result in bigger price fluctuations in the energy commodity market. Helen has competence for operating in the market, and we will continue to develop our competences, while being aware of the fact that the company’s results will vary more than before.