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Financial statement release: Strong growth in customer numbers, new openings in carbon neutrality

The Helen Group’s profit trend and the strong growth in customer numbers continued at an excellent level in business year 2019. The company’s increased operating efficiency and the high level of availability of the plants, successful measures in the electricity market and the favourable price trend of fuels have contributed to the excellent performance and profitability.   

Helen’s operations are based on heat, cooling and electricity. Helen has solid experience in energy systems and production, and future solutions will also be built on this expertise. Investment in regional renewable energy, smart buildings and electric traffic continues. In 2019, Helen made a decision to invest in a heat pump to be built in Vuosaari, utilising the heat of sea water. It also launched a geological survey related to geothermal heat.  

“Last year, we succeeded especially in demand response in the fluctuating electricity market and in continuously increasing the number of customers in the highly competitive retail market. Based on our extensive strategy work last year, Helen defined a renewed strategy that gives us a roadmap towards a new energy era and carbon neutrality. With respect to the current government’s targets for the energy sector, the most important one for Helen is the change in electricity tax class for heat-producing heat pumps from tax class I to tax class II,” 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, 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 figures for the same period in the previous year. The subsidiary Suomen Energiaurakointi Oy was sold on 30 April 2019, after which has not been included in the Group’s figures.

January-December 2019

  • Net sales for 2019 stood at EUR 914 (930) million. The contributing factors to the trend in net sales were the cost-based changes in the price of district heat, the sales volume of retail electricity, and the market price of electricity. The sale of Suomen Energiaurakointi Oy during the course of the financial year had an impact on the reduction of comparable net sales.
  • The net sales and profitability of Helen Electricity Network Ltd developed positively.
  • The Group’s results improved on the previous year, with operating profit amounting to EUR 177 (131) million. Helen Ltd was able to utilise the electricity market situation and increase the operating profit with successful measures in the electricity wholesale market.
  • At 6,752 GWh (6,578), the electricity sales volume grew by 3%.
  • District heat sales stood at 6,523 GWh (6,702), down by 3%.
  • District cooling sales totalled 171 GWh (188), a fall of 9%.
  • Electricity distribution in Helsinki was almost at the previous year’s level, standing at 4,383 GWh (4,414).

 Helen Group’s Key Figures 2019

  2019 2018
Net sales, M€ 914 930
Operating profit, M€ 176 131
Operating profit, % 19 14
Profit before appropriations, M€ 160 112
Investments, M€ 69 65
Equity ratio, % 77 73
Return on investment (ROI), % 7 5
Employees as of 31 December 957 1080
Balance sheet total, M€ 2710 2758

Outlook

Helen aims for carbon neutrality in 2035. This target is in line with the objectives of the Finnish government and the City of Helsinki. Coal use will be phased out already before that, by 2029 at the latest. Climate change mitigation has a key impact on our planning of future energy solutions and our forthcoming investments. We make progressive investments in reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy in order to exploit fully the opportunities presented by new technologies. New energy production solutions are also developed together with customers. All energy production of Helen Ltd is covered by the EU emissions trading scheme. 

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 the emissions trade 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 solution 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’s Board of Directors has appointed Juha-Pekka Weckström, M.Sc. (Tech.), as the company’s President and CEO as from 1 April 2020 following the retirement of Pekka Manninen, the current President and CEO.  

The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 68,000.00 per share be paid, i.e. a total of EUR 68,000,000.00, and that EUR 46,908,523.09 be held as retained earnings. The Board of Directors proposes that the distribution of dividend shall take place on 30 April 2020. The company’s liquidity is good and, according to the Board of Directors, the proposed profit sharing will not jeopardise the company’s solvency.  

The distributable equity of the parent company Helen Ltd stands at EUR 1,366,080,916.54, of which the profit of the previous financial years amounts to EUR 36,969,150.56 and the profit for the financial year EUR 77,939,372.53.  

The Helen Group’s annual report and corporate social responsibility report will be published on 12 March 2020.

Published: 11.03.2020 09:17
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