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Interim report: District cooling is expanding, new heating and cooling plant under the Esplanade Park

Helen's net sales and results showed a positive development, and the number of customers increased further.

 

Helen's cooling services continued to grow, and the hot weather increased the customers' cooling need to a record high level. The new heating and cooling plant under the Esplanade Park in Helsinki was completed. The plant will increase the cooling and heat production capacity and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Helen is also implementing a new heat pump in the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant, which is the largest of its kind in the world. 

“The demand for cooling services is on the rise as customers are increasingly appreciative of good indoor conditions regardless of the outdoor temperature. We are meeting this demand with new investments. We are able to offer cooling that is produced in a sustainable way. At the same time, we also recycle and process a significant amount of energy into district heat,” says Helen's President and CEO Pekka Manninen.

The Helen Group consists of the parent company Helen Ltd and the subsidiaries Helen Electricity Network Ltd, Oy Mankala Ab, Suomen Energia-Urakointi Oy, and Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy. The Group’s associated companies are Voimapiha Oy, Suomen Merituuli Oy, and Liikennevirta Oy.

The figures in brackets refer to the comparable figures for the same period in the previous year.

 

APRIL-JUNE 2018

  • The Group's results improved due to the favourable price trend in the electricity market. Net sales increased to EUR 163 million (EUR 160 million), with operating profit amounting to EUR 6 million (EUR -2 million).
  • Cash flow from operating activities stood at EUR 27 million (EUR 28 million).
  • Total electricity sales fell by 6% to 1,074 GWh (1,139 GWh).
  • Due to exceptionally warm temperatures in May, heat sales were down by 20% on the previous year. Heat sales totalled 1,040 GWh (1,293 GWh).
  • Correspondingly, district cooling sales increased by 23% to 48 GWh (39 GWh).
  • Electricity distribution in Helsinki fell by 2% to 1,003 GWh (1,019 GWh).

 

JANUARY-JUNE 2018

  • The Group's results for the first part of the year improved on the previous year. Net sales increased to EUR 489 million (EUR 440 million), with operating profit amounting to EUR 69 million (EUR 51 million). In addition to the weather conditions in the early part of the year, the growth in net sales and results was affected by the increased market price of electricity and the successful hedging strategy in the electricity market.
  • Cash flow from operating activities stood at EUR 133 million (EUR 100 million).
  • Total electricity sales grew by 3% to 3,605 GWh (3,491 GWh).
  • Heat sales were up by 4% on the previous year, totalling 4,023 GWh (3,872 GWh).
  • District cooling sales increased by 17% to 74 GWh (63 GWh).
  • Electricity distribution in Helsinki grew by 1% to 2,242 GWh (2,227 GWh).

 

HELEN GROUP'S KEY FIGURES

 

4-6/2018

4-6/2017

Change

1-6/2018

1-6/2017

Change

Net sales, EUR mill.

163

160

2 %

489

440

11 %

Operating profit, EUR mill.

6

-2

 

69

51

35 %

Operating profit, %

4

 

 

14

12

21 %

Profit before appropriations, EUR mill.

0

-8

 

58

40

44 %

Investments, EUR mill.

13

26

-49 %

26

44

-41 %

Equity ratio, %

-

-

 

74

72

3 %

Return on capital invested (rolling 12 months), %

-

-

 

3,3

2,5

31 %

Employees as of 30 June

-

-

 

1 175

1 271

-8 %

Balance sheet total, EUR mill.

-

-

 

2 672

2 688

-1 %

 

KEY EVENTS IN APRIL–JUNE

  • Helen was again the most sustainable brand among energy companies. For the second year running, Helen was ranked first among Finnish energy companies in the largest Nordic survey, Sustainable Brand Index™, concerning citizens' views on the sustainability of well-known companies.
  • The underground heating and cooling plant located under the Esplanade Park at a depth of some 50 metres was completed. The large heat pumps are used for producing both district heat and district cooling and for recovering a significant amount of excess heat from properties for utilisation in heat production. The heat pumps replace some of the fossil fuels used in Helen's energy production and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20,000 tonnes a year.
  • Helen took the decision to invest in a new heat pump to complement the heating and cooling plant located under the Katri Vala Park in Sörnäinen. Due to the new heat pump, the plant's production volume will increase by up to 30%. At the same time, the thermal load of the Baltic Sea will be reduced considerably when the heat of the purified waste water will be recovered even more efficiently than before.
  • Helen was the first company in Finland to launch on the market a producer package designed for domestic customers, offering solar panels and an electricity accumulator as a tailor-made package. With the electricity accumulator, a microgenerator will gain greater benefits from their solar panels, while becoming part of Helen's virtual power plant and the smart electricity market of the future by joining the demand response system.
  • A new solar wall consisting of 84 panels was installed at the Suvilahti substation in Helsinki to test the yield of wall panels. The solar wall was implemented in a new way, and it is directly integrated in the substation building so that the new wall surface is formed by the solar panels.
  • Helen is exploring various options of building new bioenergy heating plants in Helsinki. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the plant planned for Tattarisuo continues in accordance with the statement issued by the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre of Uusimaa) so that the EIA report will include a new site option south of the Tattarisuo industrial area.
  • Helen together with the ELY Centre and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has studied the best and most cost-effective method for the passage of migratory fish past the power plant dams along the River Kymijoki. It was decided to continue the investigation with fish radio telemetry studies and the simulation of fish passage alternatives.
  • A decision was made on the refurbishment of the Klåsarö hydropower plant along the River Kymijoki, owned Helen's subsidiary Oy Mankala Ab. The plant's lifespan will be extended and the amount of renewable energy will be increased with the modernisation of water turbines.
  • Helen Electricity Network Ltd started work on moving the high-voltage line along the Metsälä road in Helsinki to enable housing construction in Postipuisto in Pasila.

 

OUTLOOK

Despite the current slightly raised price level in the electricity market, it is estimated that the electricity market in the next few years will be difficult for electricity producers.

Uncertainties related to political decision-making, the energy markets and the economy have an impact on business operations and their planning.

Helen believes that a strong emissions trading system should be the primary steering mechanism to reduce emissions in the EU area.

The Government proposal to prohibit the use of coal in energy production in 2029 as well as the planned tax increase for combined heat and power generation would, if implemented, significantly diminish the energy companies' possibilities to invest in new energy innovations and in emissions reduction.

"Finland needs an energy policy that strengthens Finland as a forerunner in the energy sector and creates preconditions to develop new innovations and radical means to resolve the climate challenge. The actions planned by the Government will restrict our opportunities to invest in the development of these new solutions," says Pekka Manninen.

The results for 2018 are estimated to improve on the 2017 level.

Download Helens interim report (in finnish)

Published: 03.08.2018 14:18
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