Helen seeks growth in a radically changing energy market

Helen Group’s interim report January-September 2016

Helen continued its development of business operations, services and energy production in accordance with the new strategy approved in the spring. The goal is to develop renewable energy production and customer-oriented services and to secure competitiveness of operations in a challenging market situation.

– As the energy sector continues to change, we must find new ways for profitable growth. Our energy production is awarded as the most efficient in the world, and we are also seeking this efficiency in our other operations. We are leaders in the industry, developing new energy services and production solutions. We want to bring new ways of thinking and new approaches to the entire sector, says Helen’s President and 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.

JULY–SEPTEMBER 2016

  • In a challenging market situation, net sales grew slightly to EUR 123 million (EUR 120 million), but operating profit fell to EUR -19 million (EUR -8 million). The fall in operating profit was partly due to the seasonal fluctuations typical of the business operations, whereas energy sales in the summer season were lower than in other seasons.
  • Cash flow from operating activities came to EUR -3 million (EUR -2 million).
  • Cool summer provided a slight boost to heat sales, which totalled 594 GWh (581 GWh).
  • Total electricity sales fell to 1,015 GWh (1,198 GWh).
  • District cooling sales increased to 52 GWh (47 GWh).
  • Electricity distribution in Helsinki remained at the same level as in the previous year at 993 GWh (993 GWh).

JANUARY–SEPTEMBER 2016

  • Results for January–September were at the predicted level, which was clearly lower than in the previous year.
  • Turnover stood at EUR 526 million (EUR 534 million), with operating profit amounting to EUR 37 million (EUR 90 million). The low market price of electricity, lower sales volume and increased fuel costs had a significant impact on the fall in the operating profit.
  • Cash flow from operating activities came to EUR 105 million (EUR 187 million).
  • The cold January and cool summer increased heat sales, which totalled 4,372 GWh (4,167 GWh).
  • Total electricity sales fell to 4,556 GWh (5,078 GWh).
  • District cooling sales grew to 114 GWh (99 GWh).
  • Electricity distribution in Helsinki increased to 3,221 GWh (3,179 GWh). 

HELEN GROUP’S KEY FIGURES

 

7-9/2016

7-9/2015

1-9/2016

1-9/2015

Net sales, EUR million

123

120

526

534

Operating profit, EUR million

-19

-8

37

90

Operating profit, %

-16

-6

7

17

Profit before appropriations,   EUR million

-25

-15

19

71

Investments, EUR million

-32

-28

-73

-85

Equity ratio, %

-

-

73

71

Return on investment (ROI), %

-

-

1

3

Number of employees 30 Sept.

-

-

1,301

1,378

Balance sheet total, EUR   million

-

-

2,623

2,638

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGY

Helen’s new strategy, which was determined in the spring, was implemented systematically, e.g. through selected strategic project areas.
The strategic growth target was promoted with strong investment especially in the development of sales and management of customer accounts. Helen also launched new services on the market, such as district heat produced by biogas aimed at corporate customers. Solutions related to solar energy and demand response were also actively promoted.
The most significant strategic policy with respect to the development of Helen’s energy production structure is a 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 to decommission the Hanasaari power plant in 2024 and to replace its production with renewable energy.
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 JULY–SEPTEMBER

  • The planning and preparation work for the construction of a large pellet-fired heating plant at Salmisaari continued. The plant will be one of Finland’s greatest investments in renewable energy, and it will have the largest pellet boiler in Finland. The pellet-fired heating plant will be completed in early 2018.
  • The planning of a new heating and cooling plant to be built in Helsinki under the Esplanade Park progressed according to schedule. 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. The new heating and cooling plant is scheduled to be commissioned in summer 2018.
  • Helen launched a partner search for local renewable energy production projects. Aimed at the public sector, associations and communities, the objective of the campaign is to increase renewable energy production together with the project partners. Project funding utilises the funds accrued in Helen’s Environmental Penny account, which Helen has generated together with its customers.
  • According to a study commissioned by Helen, the significance of responsibility in construction is on the increase. One of the key areas of increased interest in responsible construction is the cooling of residential properties, which has been given a boost by warmer summers and extreme weather phenomena and the subsequent increase in indoor temperatures in homes.
  • Helen developed a completely new kind of service for consumers who are interested in responsible energy use and production. Members of the Enne service receive useful tips on energy consumption and instructions how to improve the efficiency of their energy use. With these tips, it is easy for anyone to reduce their energy use and carbon footprint. The Enne service is available for everyone to join, regardless of their location or type of home. Members of the service are able to have a say on future energy solutions and to be among the first to test these solutions. In the first stage of the Enne service, Helen launched the Heat Pledge campaign, offering customers an option of reducing emissions from energy production and boosting the efficiency of their own energy use. This will also build a completely new way of implementing demand response with private customers.
  • Helen Sähköverkko Oy and Emtele Oy drew up an extension contract on the automation of 150 transformer substations. Helen Sähköverkko is a forerunner in transformer substation automation, the significance of which in the management of the distribution network is growing in the drive to substantially reduce the duration of power cuts.

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 tighten the taxation of heating fuels will bring a significant extra burden on energy production. The energy and climate strategy, which is currently in preparation, will have a significant impact on the future of indigenous energy production.
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 continue.
The results for 2016 are estimated to fall substantially compared with year 2015.

Published: 04.11.2016 10:46

Sanna Jääskeläinen
Communications Manager
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