PNE AG, which is internationally active in the development and operation of renewable energy projects, is on target after the first nine months of the 2020 fiscal year. This is shown by the statement published today about the course of the first nine months.
"The first nine months of the 2020 fiscal year were characterised by different developments. On the one hand, we made good progress operationally, obtained further approvals, won tenders, started building further wind farms, expanded the project pipelines for wind and photovoltaics and positioned ourselves even more strongly in the service sector. On the other hand, the unpredictable general conditions, particularly in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, challenged us," said Markus Lesser, CEO of PNE AG, summarising the course of business.
Successful operative development
In spite of the difficult general conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first nine months of the year were successful in operational terms. In Poland, PNE completed the construction of a 42 MW project, which had already been sold earlier. PNE continued the construction of wind farms in Sweden and Poland on behalf of customers. In Germany, PNE had six wind farms with a nominal capacity of 73.8 MW under construction at the end of the reporting period, of which 4.2 MW in the form of a citizen's wind park. At the end of the reporting period, there were wind farms with a total capacity of approx. 318.8 MW under construction for our own account and for our customers.
In the first nine months of the fiscal year, PNE was successful in tenders in Germany with three previously approved wind farms (39.0 MW) and was awarded contracts. In October, a further contract was awarded for a wind farm with 21.6 MW.
Expansion of internally operated wind farms makes progress
At present, the PNE Group has internally operated wind farms with an installed nominal capacity of 130.1 MW, and further wind farms are under construction. The plans are to expand the portfolio of internally operated projects, primarily in Germany, to up to 500 MW by the end of 2023.
Project pipeline strengthened
The basis for future development is the "pipeline" of projects, which are processed in various phases of project development. The pipeline of onshore wind energy projects was expanded to approx. 5,241 MW. It is noteworthy that PNE has maintained a very high level with projects of currently approx. 681 MW in the approval phase in Germany and France.
The pipeline for the development of photovoltaic projects was also significantly expanded. In this field, projects with a nominal capacity of 476 MWp are under development in Germany, Romania and the USA.
Offshore projects in Germany
Following an examination by the German Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel (FREP), adjustments had to be made at the Group level, retrospectively as of January 1, 2017, to the balance sheet valuation of offshore projects developed in the North Sea. This will not have any significant impact on the current 2020 fiscal year, although there will be changes in some values carried forward in the balance sheet, such as inventories and equity.
Irrespective of the error corrections necessary in this connection, PNE AG feels validated, in particular by the Senate order of the Federal Constitutional Court of August 20, 2020, in its assessment that parts of the WindSeeG are unconstitutional. With the implementation of the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court by the legislator, PNE expects reimbursements for project planning services already provided, which will have a correspondingly positive effect on the Group's figures in the future.
Results for the first nine months on target
In the reporting period, the Group recorded sales of euro 73.9 million (prior year: euro 72.6 million), total aggregate output of euro 90.7 million (prior year: euro 96.6 million), earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of euro 9.2 million (prior year: euro 17.0 million), operating profit (EBIT) of euro -3.5 million (prior year: euro 7.8 million) and undiluted earnings per share of euro -0.12 (prior year: euro -0.09).
The investments in our own projects had a particular impact since there were no sales of projects. Because of these investments in our own projects, pre-tax profits of euro 19.8 million were eliminated at Group level in the first nine months (prior year: euro 4.9 million).
Dealing with the Corona pandemic
The ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic also has an impact on business developments. PNE has adapted to this situation with concepts aligned with the respective markets and continued its business consistently. Projects were further developed, tenders won and the construction of further projects started. The fact that internal processes and organisational structures have already been developed to a high level in recent years has paid off.
However, the consequences of the pandemic are being felt. Approval procedures drag on and projects are postponed. At the same time, manufacturers of wind power turbines report longer delivery times. The development of electricity prices in international markets, which is currently difficult to forecast due to the pandemic, may lead to delays in sales processes and postponed realisation.
In spite of these and other general conditions aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting delays in the project business as well as the investment in the development of wind farms for PNE's own portfolio, the Board of Management confirms the goal for the entire year: PNE is expecting EBITDA of euro 15 to 20 million and EBIT of euro 5 to 10 million at the Group level for the 2020 fiscal year. Crucial to achieving these goals are the planned project sales in Germany and abroad.