Continuing the sound financial policy aims at sustainably increasing the company value and the attractiveness of Energie AG Group for equity investors and outside creditors. Forward-looking initiatives such as pro-active liquidity assurance are aimed at warranting stability and resilience in times of crisis, as well as with respect to uncertain macroeconomic developments in Austria.
Positioning the company as a reliable and stable partner for equity investors and outside creditors is an important goal of Energie AG Group. This goal is pursued stringently and sustainably by means of a stable dividend policy for our shareholders as well as a financial policy that places great importance on safeguarding a good and sustainably solid credit rating.
The goal of the Energie AG Group is to generate an ROCE (Return on Capital Employed) that is higher than the WACC (Weighted Average Cost of Capital) value through consistent value-oriented corporate management and control. Energie AG Group primarily relies on the ROCE and the operating result (EBIT) for its internal management and assessment of the Group's earning power.
The target for the long-term creditworthiness of Energie AG Group is a rating within the A group. In late February 2022, the international rating agency Standard & Poor’s again confirmed the creditworthiness of Energie AG with an ‘A’ rating (with a stable outlook). The analysts assessed the Group's stability and resilience in today's highly volatile and crisis-laden environment as particularly positive. For more than two decades, the Energie AG Group has had a credit rating by external experts as one of the top ranking European energy suppliers.
As a result of the heavy turbulences on the European markets for energy and raw materials in combination with the associated potentially high liquidity requirements from the energy trading business, Energie AG in fiscal year 2021/2022 secured its liquidity by agreeing on additional – partly committed – lines of credit up to EUR 385 million with banks in Austria and Germany. This means that total lines of credit up to EUR 700 million are available to safeguard Energie AG's ability to take action even if markets were to become volatile in the future. Also see the Group Management Report, Funding and investment strategy.
The securing of long-term funding on the capital markets plays an important role, in particular for the financing of sustainable infrastructure projects for the expansion and renewal of hydroelectric power and photovoltaic plants as well as the expansion of the electricity grid in Upper Austria. The transformation toward a sustainable energy supply will require massive investment programmes from the entire industry over the next couple of years. The commercial successes enjoyed in recent years enable Energie AG to make a significant contribution to and actively participate in the energy transition.
The Energie AG Group responds to the identified macroeconomic risks from turbulences on the energy market and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic with efficiency improvement measures, a value-based investment management, and new business models aimed at harnessing additional earning potentials.
The magnitude of value creation for the stakeholders is evident in a study from the 2018/2019 fiscal year, in which Economica-Wirtschaftsforschung determined the economic footprint of Energie AG. The study found the Group to have Austria-wide relevance with a total value creation of EUR 1.1 billion and more than 10,000 safe jobs. In Upper Austria, 2.1% of the region's gross domestic product and 1.3% of employments are directly or indirectly dependent on Energie AG.