In his address to the meeting, administrative board president Dr. Walter Bürgi attributed the Atel Groups success to its clear strategic course over previous years: The good results are the fruit of our two-pronged strategy decided a little over two years ago. He was referring to Atels focus on electricity trading and energy services. In its electricity trading core business, the company has focused on well-defined market territories and customer groups. Atel has a regional customer presence thanks to a mixture of its own subsidiaries and marketing joint ventures throughout Europe. Bürgi also stated how the Olten-based electricity trader has become a heavyweight player at the newly established European electricity exchanges. The energy services business, which accounted for 45% of corporate revenue, is set for further growth. Atels president emphasised the strategy, saying: This business is designed to complement our electricity trading activities and ultimately gain us direct access to end customers.
Thoroughgoing, no-compromise market opening Although the Swiss parliaments electricity market legislation (EMG) has established a legal framework for opening the electricity market, Walter Bürgi pointed out Atels misgivings about certain aspects. All the same, this legislation should be enacted without delay. Atel has always favoured fast-track, no-compromise opening of the electricity market all the way to the wall socket, said Bürgi, adding: Instigating a referendum against the new legislation belies common sense. In Bürgis view, what matters now is drawing up the regulations associated with the EMG. He warned against admitting the energy taxation lobbys interests through the back-door regulatory route.
A long way to achieving a durable nuclear energy policy Atel is committed to a sensible policy on nuclear energy. We must emphasise the benefits of nuclear energy as a clean, CO2-free means of producing Switzerland's electricity, said Walter Bürgi. While the Federal Council's legislative proposals for nuclear energy acknowledge an ongoing commitment to nuclear as one of Switzerland's energy options, they do contain a few dubious clauses: the ban on reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, for example, flies in the face of good sense. The necessity for numerous compromises and concessions will mean a long and rough road to a durable nuclear energy policy for Switzerland.
CEO Alessandro Sala was upbeat about the 2000 financial year. Unlike virtually any other Swiss electricity company, Atel has responded to liberalisation and rebranded itself within a short period. Atel Group revenues were up 73 per cent to CHF 3.3 billion. Group profit was CHF 135 million, 26 per cent higher than the previous years figure. Cash flow was down 15 per cent at CHF 465 million. Atel is committed to further pursuing its growth strategy in the 2001 financial year. Projections indicate revenues remaining steady, coupled with a modest increase in group profit. The first three months of the 2001 financial year have proved encouraging and confirm expectations. Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications