Discover the Acea Group online 2019 Consolidated Report

Operating figures, equity and financial results for the year

Operating dataU.M.31/12/201931/12/2018Change% Change
Electrical Energy sold - FreeGWh4,2353,68555014.9%
Electrical Energy sold - ProtectedGWh2,2192,370(151)(6.4)%
Electricity - Free market customers (P.O.D.)N/0003993316820.5%
Electrical Energy - No. Protected Market Customers (P.O.D.)N/000786846(60)(7.0)%
Gas SoldMsm3140128128.9%
Gas - No. Free Market CustomersN/0001921731911.2%
Equity and financial results(€ million)31/12/201931/12/2018Change% Change
Operating profit/(loss) (EBIT)18.33.714.7n.s.
Average headcount47046451.1%
Net financial debt(53.2)(23.7)(29.5)124.2%
EBITDA(€ million)31/12/201931/12/2018Change% Change
EBITDA - Commercial and Trading Segment69.176.1(7.0)(9.2)%
EBITDA - Group1,042.3933.2109.111.7%
Percentage weight6.6%8.2%(1.5 p.p.)

The Segment, responsible for the management and development of electricity and gas sales and related customer relationship activities as well as the Group's energy management policies, closed 2019 with an EBITDA of € 69.1 million, down compared to 2018 by € 7.0 million. The reduction is mainly attributable to Acea Energia (- € 7.3 million), only partially mitigated by the improved margin of Umbria Energy (+ € 0.5 million) and Acea8Cento (+ € 0.2 million).

With regard to the effects on the primary gross margin, the reduction recorded by Acea Energia is mainly due to the RCV review and the value recognised for the mechanism for offsetting arrears provided for in Resolution 706/2018 ARERA.

In detail, the energy margin of the protected market amounted to € 51.6 million and showed a reduction of € 17.9 million compared to the previous year, partly mitigated by the free market margin which amounted to € 47.6 million and showed an increase of € 0.7 million. The reduction in the margin of the protected market is due mainly to lower tariffs and a revision of the compensation mechanism for arrears, while the margin of the free market is affected mainly by higher unit sales. The margin of the gas market, on the other hand, was € 12.2 million, down by € 0.3 million compared to 31 December 2018, mainly due to the lower margins achieved. Finally, the energy margin relating to the optimisation of energy flows, amounting to € 6.5 million, is in line with the previous year.

The first application of IFRS 16 resulted in a benefit to EBITDA in terms of lower costs for rentals of € 0.3 million.

The operating result increased by € 14.7 million, an improvement of € 21.7 million over EBITDA, mainly due to lower write-downs on receivables for € 11.0 million primarily as a result of the improved collections, lower provisions for risks for € 8.1 million due to the provisions made in the previous year for energy items (€ 7.7 million) and lower amortisation and depreciation for € 2.6 million due to the revaluation of residual costs for IT projects, including the new CRM.

With reference to the workforce, the average number at 31 December 2019 stood at 470 employees; this number was up compared to the previous year by 5 employees. Primary contributors to this change are Acea Energia (+ 15 units) compensated by Acea8cento (- 10 units).

Investments in the Segment amounted to € 42.5 million, an increase of € 17.9 million, compared to the previous year, mainly attributable to Acea Energia for investments related to the acquisition of new customers in accordance with IFRS 15 (€ 17.7 million), for IT implementation projects (€ 14.1 million) and for cloud licences that form the basis of the new Customer Relationship Management (€ 9.9 million).

Net financial debt at 31 December 2019 stood at € 53.2 million, an improvement of € 29.5 million compared to 31 December 2018. This trend derives from the dynamics of operating cash flow, influenced by the improvement in collection performance. The first application of IFRS 16 resulted in a worsening of financial debt by € 0.6 million.