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Financial statement release 1 Jan. 2020 – 31 Dec. 2020: Excellent business result under exceptional circumstances, customer numbers on the rise

Helen achieved an excellent result due to good commercial operations, although year 2020 was characterised by the coronavirus pandemic and unseasonably mild winter, resulting in a decrease in net sales. The company’s customer numbers grew to a record high level with respect to electricity and heat customers. Helen also continued its investment in carbon-neutral production. The company is progressing resolutely towards its long-term financial and carbon neutrality targets.

- Helen’s investments in carbon neutrality reached peak levels. Last year, we made decisions to invest EUR 350 million in carbon-neutral production, and we are continuing the investment programme. I am particularly delighted about the strong growth in customer numbers and, in general, the strengthening of a commercial approach throughout the organisation, which enabled an excellent result. The net sales of the solutions business doubled, and we invested 4 million euros in growth companies. All these are a testament to the bold implementation of Helen’s strategy and good governance also under exceptional circumstances,” says Juha-Pekka Weckström, President and CEO of Helen Ltd since 1 April 2020.

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

JANUARY‒DECEMBER 2020

  • Net sales for 2020 stood at EUR 1,054 (1,151) million, a fall on the previous year. The trend in net sales was impacted by the reduced heat sales due to a mild weather, the low price level in the wholesale market and the produced volumes. The volume of electricity sold to businesses and the resulting net sales were significantly below the estimated levels due to a reduction in electricity consumption as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The net sales and profitability of Helen Electricity Network Ltd fell slightly due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Group’s result was at the previous year’s level, with operating profit amounting to EUR 176 (176) million. Helen Ltd was able to utilise the electricity market situation and its fluctuations with successful measures in the electricity wholesale market. The price trend of fuels and the profitable growth in the electricity retail sales also supported the excellent level of operating profit.
  • A total of 6,032 GWh (6,752) of electricity was sold, down by 11%.
  • District heat sales stood at 5,829 GWh (6,702), a fall of 11%.
  • District cooling sales totalled 169 GWh (171 GWh), down by 1%.
  • Electricity distribution in Helsinki stood at 4,178 GWh (4,383 GWh), a fall of 5%.

Key figures of the Group and parent company

  Helen Group   Helen Ltd  
  2020 2019 2020 2019
Net sales, EUR mill. 1054 1151 942 1034
Operating profit, EUR mill. 176 176 133 130
Operating profit, % 17 15 14 13
Profit before appropriations, EUR mill. 154 160 154 150
Investments, EUR mill. 203 69 129 46
Equity ratio, % 77 77 78 78
Return on investment (ROI), % 7 7 7 7
Personnel 31 Dec. 992 957 906 863
Balance sheet total, EUR mill. 2806 2710 2739 2681

Key achievements 2020

  • In terms of the result, the year was excellent due to good commercial operations.
  • The number of customers grew to a record level: more than 550,000 electricity customers and almost 16,000 heat customers at the turn of the year.
  • Customer satisfaction increased in various customer segments.
  • The customer experience strategy was completed, providing guidelines for strengthening customer focus.
  • Oma Helen, the new digital service launched in late autumn, already has more than 50,000 customers.
  • Investments in carbon-neutrality reached peak levels: investment decisions worth EUR 350 million in 2020, the Group’s total investments EUR 203 million in 2020. The investment programme will continue in the forthcoming years.
  • Ongoing projects in carbon-neutral production: the Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant, the extension of the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant, and the cavern heat storage facility in Mustikkamaa are progressing according to plan.
  • The solution business grew significantly in the selected three markets: regional solutions (incl. solar energy), e-mobility and smart properties. The sale of geothermal heat was launched and the first pilots were built.
  • Investments in growth companies located in Holland and Germany in addition to Finland were launched at a value of some EUR 4 million.
  • The company’s management and leadership were a success in an exceptional year, and measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus were also effective.
  • Total carbon dioxide emissions fell by as much as 19% due to unseasonably mild weather, lower sales of wholesale electricity and the increase in the share of carbon-neutral and lower-emission production. Specific emissions were down by 13%.

Outlook

We went through an extraordinary and exceptional year 2020 which, for Helen, was very successful, and we are now facing a year of significant challenges in 2021: Helen’s inputs in investments and development will grow, focusing on the same areas as in 2020. The company is studying industrial waste heat and the heat of sea water as alternative solutions for carbon-neutral heat production. Customer orientation and digital systems for the customer interface are also given a greater emphasis than before. We aim to raise Helen’s customer focus to a level that provides a competitive advantage. Everything is based on a change of organisation culture towards more commercial operations in accordance with Helen’s values.

Price fluctuations in the electricity wholesale market are expected to gain strength in the next few years along with the increase in weather-dependent production. Weather-dependent production is balanced out by nuclear power and hydropower procured by Helen. The Nordic water resources have lately been at a higher level than normal, which has a key impact on the low market price of Nordic electricity.

When implemented, the change in the tax category of heat pumps will promote carbon-neutral investments, which is a precondition for many significant future investments.

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 building a carbon-neutral future. The process of resolving the climate challenge continues; the energy industry plays a major role as a global trendsetter.

The result for 2021 is estimated to be lower than in 2020 due to, e.g. the tightening taxation of fuels. The outlook of the company is affected by the growing uncertainty in the energy market in relation to the increase in the share of weather-dependent production in the Nordic energy market. This together with the natural gas market, which opened to competition on 1 January 2020, will result in higher price fluctuations in the energy commodity market. Helen has world-class expertise in operating on the market, and the company will continue the development of these capabilities. The fluctuation in the company’s results is expected to increase.

The Board of Directors’ proposal for measures concerning the profit for the financial period

The distributable equity of the parent company Helen Ltd stands at EUR 1,331,171,897.99, of which the profit of the previous financial years amounts to EUR 38,727,655.81 and the profit for the financial year EUR 41,271,848.73.

The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 75,000.00 per share be paid, i.e. a total of EUR 75,000,000.00, and that EUR 4,999,504.54 be held as retained earnings. The Board of Directors proposes that the distribution of dividend shall take place on 30 April 2021. 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 Helen Group’s annual report and corporate social responsibility report will be published on 15 March 2021.

Published: 11.03.2021 08:46
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