Interim report January–September 2020: Several investments in wind power, customers can also purchase part of the wind farm production
Helen’s results remained at a good level, although net sales decreased due to the coronavirus pandemic. Helen continued to invest in carbon neutrality by direct investment in a new wind farm as the principal owner. New wind production will be offered to customers with a new concept as shares of the plant’s production.
“This year, we have made decisions to invest as much as 350 million euros in carbon neutral production. The ownership arrangements of the Lakiakangas 3 Oy wind farm are a strong indication of our target to reform the energy sector. With the new service model, customers can now buy wind power also as larger shares of the plant’s production. The model is already used in solar power sales, and we are now bringing it to wind power. The new service has already attracted great interest among our business customers. There are still several ongoing studies on replacing coal, and the building of carbon neutral production continues in many projects,” says Helen’s CEO Juha-Pekka Weckström.
The Helen Group consists of the parent company Helen Ltd and the subsidiaries Helen Electricity Network Ltd, Oy Mankala Ab, and Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy. Tuulipuisto Lakiakangas 3 Oy and Kristinestad Tupaneva Oy are also reported as new subsidiaries. The associated companies consolidated in the Group accounts are Voimapiha Oy, Suomen Merituuli Oy, and Liikennevirta Oy. As from the beginning of 2020, Helen started reporting the net sales and procurement of electricity on a gross basis. The figures in brackets are comparable to the same period in the previous year.
- The Group’s net sales fell as compared with the same period in the previous year. Net sales decreased to EUR 169 million (EUR 174 million). The operating profit increased to EUR 15 million (EUR 13 million).
- Heat sales were down by 8 per cent on the previous year, standing at 595 GWh (647 GWh).
- Total electricity sales grew by 4 per cent to 1,072 GWh (1,032 GWh).
- Cooling sales decreased by 13 per cent to 65 GWh (75 GWh).
- Electricity distribution in Helsinki fell by 3 per cent to 953 GWh (986 GWh).
- The Group’s results fell as compared with the same period in the previous year. Net sales decreased to EUR 746 million (EUR 826 million). Operating profit stood at EUR 120 million (EUR 128 million). The change in net sales was influenced by the extremely warm start to the year, which reduced the production volume of district heat. The relative profitability of business operations improved due to successful measures in the electricity market, however, absolute profitability declined due to decreased net sales.
- Heat sales were down by 8 per cent on the previous year due to the mild start to the year. Heat sales stood at 4,072 GWh (4,433 GWh).
- Total electricity sales fell by 9 per cent to 4,357 GWh (4,809 GWh).
- Cooling sales decreased by 6 per cent to 142 GWh (151 GWh).
- Electricity distribution in Helsinki fell by 5 per cent to 3,042 GWh (3,202 GWh).
Helen Group's key figures
|7 - 9/2020||7 - 9/2019||Change||1 - 9/2020||1 - 9/2019||Change|
|Net sales, EUR mill.||169||147||-3%||746||826||-10%|
|Operating profit, EUR mill.||15||13||13%||120||128||-7%|
|Operating profit, %||8,6||7,4||16%||16||15,5||3%|
|Profit before appropriations, EUR mill.||8||10||-12%||102||117||-13%|
|Investments, EUR mill.||27||16||68%||75||44||70 %|
|Equity ratio, %||78||78||0%|
|Return on capital invested (rolling 12 months), %||5,4||6,9||-21%|
|Employees as of 30 September||990||948||4 %|
|Balance sheet total, EUR mill.||2712||2640||3 %|
Key events in July-September
Energy market and carbon neutrality
- Helen significantly increases its wind power production – total investment of EUR 100 million in a new wind farm. Helen has started the construction work of the Lakiakangas 3 wind farm in Ostrobothnia in partnership with the project developer CPC Finland. The project supports Helen’s target to increase wind power production fivefold in two years. Energy generated by the new wind farm will be available to Helen’s customers in 2022.
- Helen’s wind power production will also increase when the associated company Hyötytuuli builds a new wind farm in Central Ostrobothnia. The wind farm will start production in 2022.
- Helen is collaborating in a study on the utilisation of small-scale nuclear power in district heating. Small-scale nuclear power is one option among the carbon-neutral and low-emission energy production methods of the new energy era. Funded by Business Finland, the two-year EcoSMR (Finnish Ecosystem for Small Modular Reactors) project was launched in September. It brings together Finnish actors to develop business around the possibilities of small modular reactors.
- Helen’s new artificial intelligence system improves the planning of energy production and reduces emissions. Helen has developed a solution based on artificial intelligence for more accurate forecasting of heat consumption and more efficient planning of production. As the efficiency of the energy system improves, emissions will also decrease. Implemented in partnership with Silo AI, this is Helen’s first artificial intelligence system taken into production use.
Customer solutions and services
- Helen opened Helsinki’s first high power electric vehicle charger in Suvilahti. It is several times more efficient than the current chargers, with a capacity to charge an electric vehicle in just 20 minutes.
The prices of energy commodities remained down during the past quarter. The Nordic water resources were at a higher level than normal, which has a key impact on the low market price of Nordic electricity.
Price fluctuations in the electricity wholesale market are expected to gain strength in the next few years along with the rise in variable production.
In July, the EU decided on a coronavirus recovery package of EUR 750 billion, with Finland’s contribution being EUR 3.2 billion. It was decided that EUR 0.9–1.2 billion of this support package will be reserved for the green transition.
National projects meeting the European Commission’s criteria and eligible for the recovery grant are currently being listed. The Finnish Government will deliver the national plans on the allocation criteria to the European Commission in November. Helen’s carbon neutral projects fit well with this entity.
In accordance with the policies of the Finnish Government, the taxation of heating fuels will be increased by EUR 105 million, i.e. more than previously forecast. This will reduce the profitability of Helen’s business operations. However, the change in the tax category of heat pumps will promote carbon neutral investments when implemented.
Helen is responding to the energy transition through strong investment in carbon neutral production and in the solution business, and by building partnerships that support its strategy. Helen joins forces with customers and other stakeholders in order to build a carbon-neutral future. Resolving the climate challenge continues; the energy industry plays a key role as a significant investor.
The results for 2020 are estimated to be slightly lower than in the previous year. In addition to the warm start to the year, the profit outlook is weakened by the electricity market price trends and the uncertainty concerning the economic performance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.