Helen group’s interim report January–June 2016

Helen has updated its strategy, aiming for growth and success in the face of the transition taking place in the energy sector. Helen reinforces its focus on new, customer-oriented services. Attention will also be paid to the competitiveness of the current business operations and the development and enhancement of Helen’s own activities. In line with its strategy, Helen made significant investment decisions in the review period with regard to renewable energy and heat pumps, and it commissioned Finland’s largest solar power plant and the largest electricity storage facility in the Nordic countries.

– The energy market is going through a transformation, which requires new kind of thinking and approaches of all operators. At Helen, we want to regenerate our company and the entire sector. Helen has been awarded as the world’s most efficient producer of city energy, which is a good example of Finnish energy expertise. This is an excellent basis on which to build new services – involving the customers in the process to an increasing extent, says CEO Pekka Manninen.

The Helen Group is a group of companies formed of the parent company Helen Ltd and the subsidiaries Helen Sähköverkko Oy, Oy Mankala Ab, Suomen Energia-Urakointi Oy and Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy. Its associated companies are Voimapiha Oy and Suomen Merituuli Oy. The figures presented in brackets refer to the reference period, i.e. the corresponding period in the previous year.

APRIL–JUNE 2016

• Turnover stood at EUR 141 million (EUR 153 million), with operating profit amounting to EUR 0 million (EUR 12 million). The reduction in operating profit was attributable to the continued low market price of electricity and decreased heat sales.
• Cash flow from operating activities came to EUR 43 million (EUR 61 million).
• The warm spring and early summer reduced heat sales. Heat sales totalled 1,017 GWh (1,219 GWh).
• Electricity sales fell to 1,292 GWh (1,530 GWh).
• District cooling sales increased to 40 GWh (31 GWh).
• Electricity distribution in Helsinki fell by 1% to 1,001 GWh (1,007 GWh). 

JANUARY–JUNE 2016

• The Group’s results for the first six months of the year were as planned. Turnover stood at EUR 403 million (EUR 413 million), with operating profit amounting to EUR 57 million (EUR 98 million). The reduced market price of electricity and increased fuel costs had a significant impact on the fall in the operating profit.
• Cash flow from operating activities came to EUR 108 million (EUR 189 million).
• Cold January increased heat sales in the early part of the year by 5% on the previous year. Heat sales totalled 3,777 GWh (3,586 GWh).
• Electricity sales fell to 3,541 GWh (3,880 GWh).
• District cooling sales increased to 62 GWh (52 GWh).
• Electricity distribution in Helsinki grew by 2% to 2,228 GWh (2,186 GWh). 

HELEN GROUP’S KEY FIGURES
 

 

4-6/2016

4-6/2015

Change

1-6/2016

1-6/2015

Change

Turnover,   EUR million

141

153

-8%

403

413

-2%

Operating   profit, EUR million

0

12

 

57

98

-42%

Operating   profit, %

0

8

 

14

24

-

Profit before appropriations, EUR million

-6

6

 

44

85

-49%

Investments,   EUR million

26

28

-7%

41

57

-28%

Equity   ratio, %

-

-

 

72

70

 

Return on investment (ROI), %

-

-

 

2

3

 

Number of employees 30 June

-

-

 

1,387

1,482

-6%

Balance sheet total, EUR million

-

-

 

2,664

2,691

-1%

 

UPDATED STRATEGY

Helen has defined its updated strategy, which aims for growth and success in the challenging market situation and the ongoing change in the energy sector.

One of the key targets of the strategy is growth, which is sought by strengthening the sale of current main products, the management of client accounts and the customer experience. Another target is to double the turnover of new services each year.

Competition in the sale of district heat, electricity and district cooling is constantly tightening, and it is necessary to be able to safeguard the price competitiveness of products.

The most significant strategic policy with respect to the development of Helen’s energy production structure is the long-term target of climate neutrality by the year 2050. Guidelines have also been set for Helen in the decision of the Helsinki City Council in December 2015, which concerned increasing the use of renewable energy in order to be able to decommission the Hanasaari power plant in 2024. 

Helen aims to make progressive investments in reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy and to make use of all the opportunities offered by new technologies. New energy production solutions are also developed together with customers.

EVENTS AT HELEN IN APRIL–JUNE

• Finland’s largest solar power plant was commissioned in the Kivikko district of Helsinki. The plant has almost 3,000 solar panels, and its estimated annual production corresponds to the annual consumption of about 350 one-bedroom apartments. The total output of Helen’s solar power plants – Kivikko, and Suvilahti, which started operations a year ago – exceeds one megawatt. This is about 13% of the solar power production connected to the national grid.

• Helen decided to build a wood pellet heating plant in Salmisaari, which is one of the biggest renewable energy investments in Finland. The plant will have the largest wood pellet boiler in Finland. This is a significant project in Helen’s sizeable investment programme to increase the use of renewable energy. The wood pellet heating plant will be completed in early 2018.

• Helen decided to build a new large heating and cooling plant in the cooling centre located under the Esplanade Park in Helsinki. Its production use will start in spring 2018. The investment will include two industrial-scale heat pumps producing cooling and heat. They will increase the cooling output of the Esplanade cooling centre to a total of 50 MW. The investment will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 20,000 tonnes per year.

• Helen and Gasum signed a significant biogas partnership contract. Helen starts to produce district heat with domestic biogas derived from waste, which will increase the use of renewable energy sources. At the same time, Helen will introduce on the market a renewable district heat product aimed at business customers, with production based on biogas in its initial stage. The direct carbon dioxide emissions of heat production using renewable biogas are zero. 

• Helen Sähköverkko Oy started construction work in Kalasatama. The new substation in Kalasatama will support electricity distribution in the nearby areas and improve the security of electricity supply. The substation will be commissioned in autumn 2017. A new section of underground distribution network will also be built in the area.

• In Suvilahti, the installation work on the largest electricity storage facility in the Nordic countries was completed. In the pilot project, new opportunities offered by a megawatt-scale electricity storage facility will be tested: flexible intermediate storage of electricity and new business models that can be developed by storing electricity.

• Helen continued investing in the development of electricity demand elasticity services by introducing management software for distributed energy systems. It enables customers’ active participation in the electricity market and a new customer reward model.

• Helen was among the first companies to join the new energy efficiency agreements for the energy sector in 2017–2025.  Helen reached its previous targets ahead of schedule, and Helen’s energy efficiency is among the best in the world, which is particularly due to combined heat and power generation. Helen aims to further improve the efficiency of energy production and distribution and to promote energy-saving measures of its customers.

• Helen joined the Smart & Clean Helsinki Metropolitan project founded by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, which aims to turn the Helsinki region and Lahti into a world-class test area in clean and smart solutions, to offer the best solutions to the challenges faced by the world’s cities and to act as a showcase of Finnish and international companies.

OUTLOOK

Uncertainties in the economy and the energy markets in Europe and Finland continue to reflect on Helen’s operations. The decision by the Finnish government to increase taxation on heating fuels will bring a significant extra burden on energy production.

However, the government’s decision to abandon the planned doubling of carbon dioxide tax on combined heat and power generation was a step in the right direction. This has a significant impact on the operating preconditions of combined heat and power generation and that way it will support the safeguarding of sufficient electrical capacity in Finland.

According to forecasts, the electricity market will be very difficult for electricity producers in the next few years. The price level is low, and sharp fluctuations in market prices will continue.

The results for 2016 are estimated to fall substantially compared with year 2015.

Download Helen’s interim report (in Finnish)

Helen flags

Published: 09.08.2016 15:14

Sanna Jääskeläinen
Communications Manager
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