A lot of exceptionals and somewhat disappointing fundamentals. That could more or less sum up the half year results announced by the Czech Republic’s biggest electricity producer, ČEZ, released on Thursday.
The flagship figure for net profit soared by 21 percent to 16.7 billion crowns compared with the first six months of 2016. But that was on the back of some exceptional earnings from the sale of ČEZ’s stake in Hungarian oil and refining company MOL, and the company’s offloading of Prague real estate.
Looking away from those exceptional items, the result was not so sparkling. Operating first half sales at 100.9 billion crowns were just 2.0 percent up on the previous year and electricity production from ČEZ’s main coal and nuclear power plants actually fell. The company continues to complain of low electricity prices with forward sales so far of electricity for next year priced at 29.5 euros/MWh and falling to 29.0/MWh for 2019.
Nevertheless, on the back of its exceptional earnings so far and a prediction of higher margins for electricity generation and sales in the Czech Republic, ČEZ boosted its full year earning prediction to 19 billion crowns from the earlier figure of 17 billion crowns. Electricity demand in the Czech regions covered by ČEZ is currently buoyant, up up 4.2 TWh at 18.34 TWh in the first half of the year compared with 2016. Wholesale electricity sales are up 5%, household sales up 3.8 percent, and sales to businesses 2.1% higher, the company added.
In its results presentation, ČEZ preferred to put the onus on its ongoing wind power expansion in Germany and France and its ongoing expansion into the energy services market with the purchase of the Elevion company, which has annual turnover of around 8 billion crowns.
Separately, ČEZ CEO Daniel Beneš said that it should be clear by September if and how the company will offload its Bulgarian assets, mainly its electricity distribution and sales company there.