PPC posts €147m EBITA figure, 6.5% turnover drop for 1Q

The main power utility PPC has reported a 7.1 percent sales reduction in the first quarter as a result of a 4.4 percent drop in electricity demand, mainly caused by the mild winter weather, the power utility announced.

Total turnover at PPC in the first quarter fell by 78.1 million euros, or 6.5 percent, as a result of lower electricity sales, down by 96.6 million euros, the power utility noted. This reduction was attributed to PPC’s reduced market share – the utility faces bailout-related market share contraction targets – and the lower local demand.

The power utility’s retail electricity market share slipped to 83.7 percent in the first quarter from 88.5 percent in the first quarter a year earlier, prompting the 7.1 percent drop in sales, the utility noted.

The corporation posted an EBITDA (operating profit) figure of 147.2 million euros in the first quarter and a 13.1 percent EBITDA margin.

Reduced liquid fuel operating costs helped PPC achieve these EBITA figures. A year earlier, in the first quarter of 2017, PPC was subject to increased operating costs as a result of the energy crisis.

PPC’s total amount of investments in the first quarter of 2018 reached 183.7 million euros, up from 86.6 million euros in the equivalent period a year earlier, mainly as a result of the development of the power utility’s new lignite-fired power station Ptolemaida V.

PPC’s electricity generation and imports covered 53.3 percent of the country’s overall electricity demand in the first quarter.

The power utility’s hydropower production in the first quarter rose by 54.5 percent, or 595 GWh, compared to 1Q in 2017.

The country’s electricity imports grew by 33.2 percent, reaching 669 GWh – 139 GWh by PPC and 530 GWh by others. First-quarter imports last year were subdued because of Bulgarian energy crisis-related export cuts for approximately one month and a 20-day interruption of the Greece-Italy grid interconnection in January, 2017.

The combined effect of the reduced 1Q demand and increase of hydropower output and imports led to a reduction of thermal electricity production. PPC’s lignite-fired production fell by 18.5 percent, or 851 GWh, while natural gas-fueled production dropped by 43.5 percent, or 874 GWh. Even so, PPC’s related production costs rose 22.9 percent, a development attributed to increased CO2 emission rights costs.

“The corporate group’s major EBITDA improvement in the first quarter of 2018, which reached 147.2 million euros, is a strong result given the 6.5 percent total turnover reduction and 7.1 percent sales drop during the same period,” noted PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis.