Naturgy will invest 14,000 million euros until 2025, according to the new 2021-2025 strategic plan presented this Wednesday. The plan lays down the pillars for growth, with special attention to renewable generation and distribution networks, to which it will allocate 8,700 and 4,100 million respectively. These investments are completed by other minor ones in energy management and marketing. The objective is an annual increase in ebitda of 15% and the obtaining of an ordinary net profit of 1,500 and a cash-flow in the period of 16,700 million that will allow to support investments and allocate dividends worth 5,900 million in the period.
The presentation of the plan was postponed first due to the pandemic and then in February due to the offer of IFM. Precisely, the fact that it is presented now without the government’s bid having been resolved, an issue that is scheduled for the Council of Ministers on August 3, has generated criticism in the market. In this way, it intends to tackle the next stage of transformation in line with the energy transition and “be a first-rate operator, while placing environmental, social and governance criteria at the center of the company’s vision.”
On this matter, Reynés pointed out that “a company needs a plan, it cannot undertake these investments without knowing where it is going and it needs a plan for its entire workforce to attract and empower talent. We cannot be pending of resolutions that are external to us and not requested nor obviate our responsibilities as managers in a company like this ”.
The president was completed by the secretary of the board, Manuel García Covaleda: “When an offer is launched, the company cannot be paralyzed in the interest of the shareholders and the offeror himself. Takeover regulations require that what is convenient be done and obliges not to do things that lead to derail an offer in progress. In that we have been careful. In any case, it foresees that there will be no restriction if the majority of the shareholders consider doing something ”.
In this sense, both executives highlighted that both 67% of the shareholders who are represented on the board (Criteria, and the CVC and GIC funds) and the independent directors, who theoretically represent the rest of the shareholders that complete the capital, approved the plan, so your position can be deduced.
Specifically, Criteria is increasing its presence in the shareholders with purchases on the Stock Market with the aim of reaching the 30% threshold. At the moment, it has reached 25.3% compared to the 24.8% it had when the campaign began. These purchases have caused the price of Naturgy on the Stock Market to exceed that of the IFM takeover bid, set at 22.37 euros per share to acquire the 23rd. In this way, the IFM takeover has encountered an obstacle to be able to reach the 17% that you have put in as a minimum to accept the takeover bid.
Reynés emphasized that the company seeks to invest in proven technologies in markets where stability accompanies and has solid regulatory frameworks and long-term visibility. The goal is to reach 14 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. Opportunities that arise, such as those offered by the EU’s Next Generation program, in which it spearheads projects worth € 13.8 billion in projects focused on renewable gas, will not be missed either. and hydrogen.
In his view, it tries to respond to a growing social demand and to be committed to the environment and governance. “It is a plan adapted to current times that intends to grow while making its transformation and highlighting the allocation of capital, since we will have a better and more prepared company.”
Naturgy obtained a net profit of 484 million euros in the first half of the year, which represents an increase of 44.9% compared to the same period of the previous year, the company reported this Wednesday. The increase is mainly due to the closing in March of the agreement to amicably resolve the disputes that affected Unión Fenosa Gas since 2012, through the receipt of a cash payment of around 600 million dollars, as well as most of the assets. outside Egypt, excluding the commercial activities of Unión Fenosa Gas in Spain, which had a non-ordinary positive impact of € 103 million.
The group’s ordinary net profit reached 557 million until June, 17% higher than the same period of the previous year, but 20% less compared to the first half of 2019. The gross operating profit (Ebitda) stood at 1,678 million euros until June, with a fall of 3.8% compared to the first six months of 2020. The group has also approved the first interim dividend for 2021, amounting to 0.30 euros per share payable in box on August 4, 2021.
Investments by the energy company chaired by Francisco Reynés, on which the Australian fund IFM announced a partial voluntary takeover bid to acquire up to 22.79% of its capital last January, amounted to 439 million euros in these months. with a decrease of 20.5% compared to the same period of the previous year.
For its part, the group’s net debt as of June 30 was 13,611 million euros, in line with the debt levels at the end of 2020 and after the payment of 611 million of dividend on March 17 corresponding to the complementary distribution of 2020 The current indebtedness does not include pre-tax cash flows of 2,570 million euros after the sale of CGE Chile.
The group chaired by Reynés grew in renewable projects, mainly in Spain, Chile and Australia, where it will increase its presence to 750 MW of installed capacity. During the first part of the year, Naturgy entered the United States. In Chile, this same week, Naturgy concluded the sale of its electricity grids business to the Chinese state company State Grid International Development Limited (SGI), after successfully completing the takeover bid launched by the latter as a necessary and final step to finalize the operation of sale.
Naturgy was awarded a total of 235 MW of solar and wind power in the last auction in Spain and, recently, 45 MW in the Canary Islands solar auction, which will allow it to double its installed capacity in that community. On the other hand, the company reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 9%, while net emission-free production grew by 13.5% and emissions-free installed capacity increased by almost 7%, mainly due to new projects in Chile, as well as the closure of coal in Spain.
In financial terms, Naturgy signed a sustainable loan for 2,000 million euros linked to sustainability objectives that includes an annual contribution to social projects for the Naturgy Foundation. With this milestone, the company reinforces its commitment to sustainable financing and progress in ESG aspects.
In addition, Naturgy signed a power purchase agreement with the telecommunications company Telstra in Australia to build a 58 MW wind farm, which will start later this year. To do this, it will invest approximately 120 million Australian dollars (equivalent to approximately 76 million euros) in its development, with the goal of having it underway in 2023.