Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity (Atel) has again asserted itself successfully in European energy markets. The company was able to maintain energy segment sales and profits at a high level. Atel considerably expanded its production capacity over the previous year. Sales by the Energy Services sector came close to parity with the previous year's figures, despite noticeable economic weakness in corresponding European markets.
The Atel Group's consolidated sales rose 2.2 % to CHF 3.7 billion in 2002 (2001: CHF 3.6 billion). Earnings before financial costs and taxes (EBIT) rose by 14.9% in the reporting year, to CHF 255 million. Group profits were up by 3.0 % to CHF 170 million. Consolidated cash flow of CHF 490 million was around 9 % lower than the previous year's figure. The number of employees remained practically unchanged at 7900.
Energy sector: higher sales and improved profits Two aspects characterised the business development in the energy sector: restrained end-user demand for electricity on account of the weak economic situation on the one hand, along with growing intra-European electricity exchange on the other, thanks to liberalisation progress. Against this background, the Atel Group increased electricity sales by 10.5 % to a total of 40 billion kWh. There was affirmation of the previous year's high sales figures, with consolidated sales by the energy sector reaching CHF 2.3 billion (2001: CHF 2.1 billion). Profits by this sector rose 15.3 % to CHF 211 million. Furthermore, in the course of 2002 Atel transacted business with standard products involving 47 billion kWh of electricity, worth CHF 1.9 billion.
Energy Services sector: profits virtually unchanged The economic situation in the energy services business took a downturn in 2002, especially in Germany. Economic weakness was also noticeable in Switzerland and Italy. Sales figures for the GAH Group and the Atel Installationstechnik Group (AIT) both fell slightly relative to 2001. Consolidated sales were down 3 % and reached, as in the previous year, around CHF 1.5 billion. Despite difficult conditions, Atel profits of CHF 26 million in the Energy Services sector remained at virtually the same level (2001: CHF 29 million).
2003: Atel seeks to increase profits Atel is reckoning with continued economic tension in the current year. Competitive pressure will remain high in fully or partially liberalised energy markets. Thanks to first-time integration of businesses acquired in Hungary and the Czech Republic and further efforts on the sales and costs side, Atel nonetheless expects higher sales and profits. Business development throughout January and February affirmed these targets.
The Board of Directors will propose an unchanged dividend of CHF 20 per registered share at the Annual General Meeting. Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications
Note: Atel will present detailed figures and information concerning fiscal year 2002 at the annual results press conference, to be held on 1 April 2003 at the Stadthalle in Olten. The 2003 Annual General Meeting will take place on 24 April 2003 at the Stadthalle in Olten.