“2005 once again confirmed Atel’s earnings power”, said Dr Walter Bürgi, outgoing chairman of the Board of Directors, presenting the Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity annual report. “It was the seventh year in succession in which sales, turnover and profit all increased”, he went on. “The 2005 result underscores our claim that we are still the leading Swiss energy-services provider in Europe. The continuity of these results is remarkable – and so is the fact that these records were achieved in the face of significant negative special factors.” This was Walter Bürgi’s last Annual General Meeting as chairman of the Atel Board of Directors. He stepped down after a managerial career with the Group spanning 25 years.
Atel’s solid foundation for further investment 2005 was a very eventful year in the energy field, Walter Bürgi continued, citing striking rises in some primary-energy prices, and in the price of electricity in Europe. This development, together with a number of diverse events such as the gas conflict with Russia, power-station stoppages and grid bottlenecks had raised awareness of dependencies in the energy sector. It was no easy matter to take investment decisions at times of major uncertainty, and it required an extremely solid entrepreneurial base – a base that Atel had conspicuously consolidated in the previous year. “In the years to come this will enable Atel to make substantial investments in the increasingly liberalised markets”, Walter Bürgi asserted.
Switzerland faces a growing shortage of electricity It was essential, Bürgi continued, for Switzerland to expand its power-station capacities and modernise or replace old generating facilities. The country was less and less able to meet the domestic demand for electricity with its own production. Imports were becoming increasingly problematical, as well as expensive. Grid bottlenecks just outside Switzerland’s borders must be eliminated as a matter of urgency. “Switzerland urgently needs new power stations”, said Bürgi, recalling that he had made similar remarks at the previous Annual General Meeting a year ago. He called for the importance of new power stations in Switzerland to be acknowledged, and for the obstacles to their construction to be removed.
At the same time Bürgi cautioned against the idea that renewable energies, together with subsidies, energy-saving measures and one or two gas-fired power stations, would close the supply gap and boost prosperity throughout the land. His conclusion: in a world in which energy policy is increasingly controlled by power politics, and in a Europe with growing grid bottlenecks and power-station shortages, countries like Switzerland cannot rely on obtaining their electricity supplies from abroad. The only way for Switzerland to offer business and its population a secure electricity supply at competitive prices in the long term is by massively expanding its domestic production capacities. “Switzerland must have its own robust electricity supply, with a mix of hydro, renewable energies and a high proportion of CO2-free nuclear energy, complemented as required by gas-combi power stations. This is the only course that makes sense and promises future success – and as part of it, our old nuclear power stations must be replaced by new ones”, Walter Bürgi concluded.
2005 consolidated turnover exceeds CHF 8.5 billion In his review of the 2005 financial year, CEO Giovanni Leonardi once again reported impressive growth. The Group’s net turnover had risen by 25 percent to CHF 8.6 billion CHF, its profits by 21 percent to CHF 413 million and electricity deliveries by 8 percent to 98 TWh. “We achieved another record result last year, despite the fact that conditions became more difficult”, he said.
Elections to the Board of Directors Dr Walter Bürgi stepped down as chairman at this Annual General Meeting. The Board of Directors elected Dr Rainer Schaub, already a member of the Board, to succeed him as the new chairman. In connection with the formation of the new Atel/EOS/EDF energy group, Atel shareholders consented to various changes on the Board of Directors. Dr Marcel Guignard and Dr Giuliano Zuccoli were re-elected for a further term of office, while Dr Dominique Dreyer, Philippe Huet, Jean-Philippe Rochon, Hans E. Schweickardt and Dr Alex Stebler were elected as new members.
2006: ambitious objectives In the Energy segment Atel intends to continue to grow in 2006, both by expanding pan-European trading and sales and by means of selective acquisitions of production capacities. In the Energy Services segment Atel will consolidate the current structure while taking opportunities for continued profitable development. Subject to extraordinary events, Atel expects the Group as a whole to generate further increases in sales and turnover in 2006. However, advancing liberalisation and the rising trend in procurement and transport costs will make it very difficult to repeat the encouraging operating results achieved in 2005.
Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications