results in line with targets in challenging circumstances

The Helen Group reached its financial targets for the first part of the year. The mild winter reduced earnings from district heat sales, and the cool start to the summer slowed down growth in district cooling. Helen started the construction of another new solar power plant and strengthened its position as Finland’s largest solar electricity producer.

Helen’s results were in line with plans. Turnover totalled EUR 413 million and operating profit stood at EUR 91 million. Due to a very mild winter, district heat sales fell by 4% on the previous year to 3,586 GWh. The electricity sales volume grew by 2%, but the turnover of electricity sales fell due to the reduced market price of electricity. As a result of the cool weather in June, district cooling sales grew only by 2% in the first part of the year. The fall in fuel costs has compensated the reduction in turnover. Electricity distribution in Helsinki fell by 1% to 2,186 GWh. The cost impact to Helen as a result of the cancellation of the Olkiluoto 4 project by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj was approximately EUR 7.5 million.

Helen’s key figures 1 January – 30 June 2015

Turnover (EUR million)                   413
Operating profit (EUR million)         91
Balance sheet total (EUR mill.)     2,691
Return on equity %                            3
Return on investment %                   3
Equity ratio                                      70
Investments (EUR million)             57
Personnel                                         1,482

The main part of the business operations of the Helsingin Energia public utility transferred to Helen Ltd on 1 January 2015. Helen’s interim report includes the parent company Helen Ltd, Helen’s subsidiaries, and shares in associated companies. Helen’s figures are not comparable with those of the Helsingin Energia public utility.

Helen’s analysis of the development programme for the owner’s decision-making

Based on the energy policies defined by the City of Helsinki in 2008 and the decision taken by the City Council on 18 January 2012, Helen carried out a thorough investigation of two implementation options for the development programme: building a new multifuel power plant in Vuosaari and making modification investments to enable significant increase in pellet combustion at the Hanasaari and Salmisaari power plants. Helen also studied a new option based on distributed production. 

Helen has presented its views to the owner with regard to alternative investments that would achieve the emission targets set by the City of Helsinki. Helen’s Board of Director’s emphasised that all of the examined alternatives are economically costly for the company. The final decision will be made by the City Council of Helsinki.

Key events in the period under review

• A pellet system is being built at the Hanasaari power plant to replace 5–7% of the coal used by the power plant with wood pellets. A pellet system was also built at the Salmisaari power plant in 2014. When pellet combustion with a share of 5–7 per cent is carried out both at Hanasaari and Salmisaari, pellet combustion in Helsinki will total almost 100,000 tonnes a year. This amount corresponds to about one-third of all pellet production in Finland. Media release 8 April 2015

• Helen Ltd’s combined district heating and cooling solution won the esteemed Global District Energy Award. The award ceremony was held in Tallinn, Estonia on 27 April 2015. The award panel was particularly impressed by Helen’s energy-efficient solutions that utilise the densely-built urban structure to maximise energy efficiency. District cooling improves the residents’ quality of life and also enables large-scale utilisation of waste energy and solar heat. Media release 27 April 2015

• New solar power plant to Kivikko in Helsinki. The solar power plant will have almost 3,000 solar panels that will fill an area of about one hectare on the roof of the Kivikko ski hall. The output of the Kivikko solar power plant will exceed 800 kW. Along with the completion of the Kivikko solar power plant, Helen will strengthen its position as Finland’s largest producer of solar electricity. Media release 11 May 2015

• The SunZEB research project confirmed that district cooling can be used for recycling a significant amount of heat from buildings back into the district heating network. A substantial amount of this heat is renewable energy from the sun. The SunZEB research project studied the new opportunities offered by dense urban construction in the utilisation of renewable energy, recycling of energy flows and emissions reduction. 

Outlook

Helen’s outlook for the rest of the year remains unchanged. Uncertainties in the economy and the energy markets in Europe and Finland continue to have repercussions on Helen’s operations. The low level of the market price of electricity and the fuel price trend will pose challenges to the profit trend for the rest of the year.

Helen’s results for 2015 are predicted to be at the level estimated before the incorporation, at about EUR 60–80 million.

The investment solutions included in the development programme will have a significant impact on Helen’s future earnings potential.

Helsinki 29 July 2015

Pekka Manninen

The interim report can be downloaded from Helen’s website

Published: 30.07.2015 12:20

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