Eesti Energia net profit for the first half-year has reached 61 million euros

In the second quarter, the energy enterprise earned 13 million euros of net profit, and for the first six months of a year - a total of 61 million euros. The Group's profit from sales in the second quarter was 177 million euros, an increase of 19% over the previous year. The commercial profit before the deduction of costs, or EBITDA, has reached 64 million euros for the quarter, which is 17% more than in the previous year.

Andri Avila, the financial director of Eesti Energia, has said that such a good result was achieved mainly due to an increase in the production of both electricity and shale oil. "The average market price of electricity has not changed much, as compared to last year, but the market price for shale oil has significantly improved. The price of carbon dioxide quotas in the second quarter was also more profitable for the energy producer than in the previous year. As a result of the combined influence of these factors, the production of both electricity and shale oil has significantly increased," - Avila said, adding that the increase in the competitiveness of shale energy production was positively influenced by the linking of natural resource payments to the world price of oil. "A flexible system of taxation allows the industry to survive hard times, to retain jobs, and, in the case of high market prices, it also provides more income from taxes to the state," - Avila explained.

During the second quarter, Eesti Energia generated 2.4 terawatt-hours of electricity, 43% more than in the second quarter of 2016. "The figures clearly show that the dispatchable production facilities of Eesti Energia, which are operating on the shale, are good at competing in the regional market and are needed throughout the region," - Avila said. "For the first six months of this year, Estonia exported more than 1.6 terawatt-hours of electricity to Latvia and Finland. Such a volume represents 20% of the total annual consumption of Estonia. If the average price for electricity in Estonia in the first half of the year was 32 euros per megawatt hour, it means about 50 million euros of export income. The electricity production of Eesti Energia constitutes about 90% of the electricity production in Estonia," - Avila added. Estonia is the only state in the Baltic region and Finland, where the volume of electricity production exceeds domestic consumption.

Eesti Energia Group has produced 106 thousand tons of shale oil during the quarter, which means 87% more than for the same period a year earlier. "Last year, due to the very low market prices for shale oil, we moved the schedule of servicing works at the shale oil factories to the first half of the year, and for this reason the production volume now is 49 thousand tons more than a year ago. Production volume and profit from sales are primarily determined by the market price, which increased by 45% compared to the previous year, reaching an average of 261 euros per ton. The sales of shale oil also make a significant contribution to the Estonian exports, since we sell the bulk of this volume outside Estonia, " - Andri Avila clarified. The next generation oil-, electricity- and gas production plant Enefit 280 has produced half the volume of Eesti Energia shale oil.

According to the data of the Department of Statistics, Estonia's economy in the first quarter of this year grew by 4.4%, and a significant contribution to this was made by the oil shale industry. "Analyzing the data of the Department of Statistics, it can be argued that about a quarter of Estonia's economic growth in the first quarter was achieved thanks to the shale industry - the extraction of raw shale and the production of electricity and oil from it," - Avila said. The Department of Statistics has not yet published the figures that characterize economic growth in the second quarter.

During the quarter, Eesti Energia Group invested 31 million euros, the volume of investment remained at the same level as over the same period in 2016. The largest part of the investment - 17 million euros - was made into an electricity grid. The subsidiary company – Elektrilevi – has built 48 new substations and 448 kilometers of weather-resistant transmission lines, which helps improve the reliability of supply to customers. A total of 63% of the Elektrilevi network today is weather resistant. In the coming years, the share of the weather-resistant grid will continue to increase gradually. "An important achievement of Elektrilevi during the first half of the year was the decrease of the network tariff rates for customers by 7%, on average, since July 1. This was made possible by the efficient and innovative activities of Elektrilevi in recent years, which resulted in a reduction in network losses and accelerated the detection of electricity theft," - Avila said.

Andri Avila has stressed that the last quarter is characterized, inter alia, by the expansion of Eesti Energia's activities to Latvia and Poland. "In Latvia, after the opening of the local gas market, we became the second-biggest gas seller - more than 200 business customers buy gas from the affiliated company of Eesti Energia - Enefit. In Poland, we now also have all the necessary licenses for the sale of gas and electricity, and the first contract has been already concluded – and more active work is being carried out to win new contracts," - Avila said. Eesti Energia is also preparing for the start of gas sales in Lithuania.

Net profit for the second quarter has decreased compared to last year by 13%. In 2017, Eesti Energia will pay the owner 47 million euros of net dividends, to which a profit tax of 12 million euros will be added. In 2016, Eesti Energia Group did not pay dividends to the owner. The profit tax on dividends was reflected in the accounts for the previous quarter, and this has caused a decrease in net profit.

"Summing up, during the first half of the year electricity prices were, of course, lower than we took into account in our previous forecasts, but we exploited the opportunities that had emerged on the market to the maximum, and the volume of production was rather good. Prices for shale oil were significantly higher than last year, and all oil plants were involved in production. Forecasts for the second half of the year promise us more or less similar energy prices, and I believe that we will achieve the very same result, which we have defined as a goal," - Avila said.