According to forecasts by economic research institutes, a moderate economic recovery can be expected for the 2023/2024 fiscal year. The development of real incomes is expected to lead to an increase in purchasing power in 2024, which will, in turn, stimulate growth. IHS, WIFO and the IMF anticipate restrained GDP growth in Austria in the range of +0.8% to +1.2% in 2024 with inflation at +3.7% to +4.2%. In the euro zone, economic growth of +1.2% to +1.6% is forecast.

External experts consider the development of energy prices for the 2023/2024 fiscal year to be significantly more stable than in the past two years. This assumption is based on the measures taken in the meantime to diversify gas supply sources, European and Austrian gas storage levels of almost 100%, and reduced demand. The major sources of uncertainty are still the on-going developments in political crisis regions, particularly in Ukraine and the Middle East, economic developments and the impact of climate change.

In view of the ongoing uncertainties relating to the supply of natural gas from Russia to the EU and Austria, an amendment to the Gas Industry Act (GWG) and the Electricity Industry and Organisation Act (ElWOG) was passed by the Economic Affairs Committee on 10 October 2023. The implementation of the ElWOG amendment especially will play a key role at Vertrieb GmbH in the 2023/2024 fiscal year. Energie AG will respond to the risks arising from the challenging energy policy environment and volatile market developments with appropriate operational and strategic countermeasures. With a view to the trend towards the installation of PV systems, the intent is to serve and support all customers – from households and energy communities to industry – on the sales side. A further increase in competitive activity is to be expected under the given conditions. The aim of the current procurement strategy mix, which the Company uses to procure products for its customers in the domestic sector on a very long-term basis in some cases, is to make sure that appropriate products continue to be developed and brought to market in the future in order to keep the switching rate low. The further development of sustainable products and services, particularly in the fields of e-mobility, PV and heating solutions, will continue to be the focus in the coming years.

Energie AG also sees itself as a driving force for a sustainable energy future in the generation unit and is pushing forward with the expansion of renewable energy sources. Construction work on the Ebensee pumped-storage power plant started in October 2023 and will take around four years. Trial operation of this pioneering power plant is planned for the end of 2027. The focus in the 2023/2024 fiscal year will also be on the campaign to expand wind power in Upper Austria. The Kobernaußerwald wind park project is being pushed forward.

The general regulatory framework for the Grid Segment for the 2023/2024 fiscal year can continue to be assessed as stable. The parameters for the fourth gas regulation period have been fixed. The statutory environment for the fifth electricity regulatory period (starting on 1 January 2024) has been clarified for the main part. The challenges in the context of connecting decentralised generation plants remain high; investment funding will thus increase in the coming years, while the focus will also remain on personnel resources and the sufficient availability of materials and operating resources.

In the Waste Management Segment, the volume of commercial and industrial waste is expected to develop at a restrained level in the 2023/2024 fiscal year. The future development of the recycling materials paper, metals and waste wood is difficult to forecast. Umwelt Service GmbH is preparing further investments in sustainable projects in the 2023/2024 fiscal year, above all the installation of PV systems at several locations including landfills, as well as the procurement of trucks with electric drivetrains and electric charging infrastructure. The aim is also to complete reorientation work at the Hörsching location.

The price cap for energy, which was introduced by the Czech government on 1 January 2023 due to the turmoil on the energy market, will initially apply until the end of the 2023 calendar year. There are currently no plans to extend the cap. For this reasons, close monitoring of the situation on the electricity and gas market, which is dramatic in terms of costs, will continue in the Czech Republic Segment, especially since the continuing high price level is putting pressure on suppliers, operators and customers. Further to the planned investments, the corporate strategy envisages the implementation of various projects focusing on energy efficiency and alternative energy generation in order to achieve the Czech CO2 reduction targets in the coming years. A positive development in services provided to municipalities and cities is expected in the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

As part of the “LOOP” project, a decision was taken to bundle the Group's digitalisation expertise in a punch-packing new business unit in order to respond even more quickly, and in a more targeted way, to the needs of the Group's internal and external customers and offer them an outstanding customer experience. The focus of Telekom GmbH in the 2023/2024 fiscal year will therefore be on organisational integration with the IT services provided by Business Service GmbH and with Customer Services GmbH. The objective in the telecommunications sector during this transition is to continue to face constantly increasing competition along the entire value chain in the telecommunications market, while at the same time again boosting value creation in this segment in line with planning. The objective in the internal Group services is to further optimise existing high standards in terms of quality, security and reliability, despite the on-going development of organisational or process structures.

In addition to reliably supplying Energie AG's customers and ensuring financial stability, the focus in the 2023/2024 fiscal year will continue to be on the strategic development of the Group in the scope of the Group-wide strategy and organisation project “LOOP”. The focus of the specific actions derived from the decisions made on the alignment of the Group's segments will be increasing the expansion of modes of generation from renewable energy sources, along with future-oriented technologies and sustainable products and services. The permanent alignment of all services to customer needs, and pushing forward with digitalisation and innovation will again be upheld as important strategic objectives in the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

Assuming a largely stable economic and market environment and subject to any further political or regulatory market interventions, Energie AG expects the operating result for the 2023/2024 fiscal year to be above the level of the 2022/2023 fiscal year.

Linz, 4 December 2023

The Management Board of Energie AG Oberösterreich

Dr. Leonhard Schitter, CEO (signature)

Dr. Leonhard Schitter MA

Dr. Andreas Kolar, Member of the Management Board (signature)

Dr. Andreas Kolar

Dipl.-Ing. Stefan Stallinger MBA, Member of the Management Board (signature)

Dipl.-Ing. Stefan Stallinger MBA