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a.en/sbo and AVAG/EBM share duties

Electricity, gas and water supply for the Olten region. One year after the joint acquisition of AVAG by the consortium of EBM/UBS-CEIS/sbo, a decision has been made on the future course of action. Duties will be divided between AVAG and a.en. AVAG will remain independent, but will now come under the operational management of EBM. Aare Energie AG (a.en) will retain responsibility for sbo, will transfer in full to its ownership and will be downsized accordingly. There will be no redundancies. This segregation is designed to take optimum account of prevailing conditions and strengthen the individual market focus of both sbo/a.en and AVAG/EBM.

Following the acquisition of AVAG by consortium partners EBM, UBS-CEIS and sbo, a broad review was conducted of the synergy and optimization potential between a.en, AVAG and EBM and how this could be exploited going forward in view of the different strategic positioning and specific strengths of each company. EBM is on a growth path in the core business lines of the energy sector and is already a successful player in individual business areas, both within Switzerland and internationally. sbo, for its part, has a local supply contract and operates the three divisions of electricity, gas and water as a multi-utility company to great success. sbo is seeking to strengthen its position in its current supply area. Departing from various starting scenarios, the solutions that were examined ranged from retaining its current structures to consolidating all activities into a new joint operating company.

After weighing up all pertinent factors, the parties involved agreed to continue to focus on their respective strengths and thus to pursue an amicable separation of responsibilities. a.en will be acquired in full by sbo and remain active as its fully fledged operating and management company in all divisions such as electricity, gas, heating and water. a.en will be downsized in line with the new requirements, meaning that slightly more than one half of current staff will remain at a.en where they will manage the electricity, gas, heat and water divisions as a multi-utility company.

Meanwhile, EBM will take over the operational management of AVAG and thus the necessary operating segments of a.en. The a.en employees who used to be responsible for AVAG, who continue to perform AVAG's duties in connection with electricity supply in the municipalities within its catchment area, will be taken over by EBM. EBM will be offering a position to all members of staff who do not stay within the restructured a.en. There will be no redundancies.

Ernst Zingg, Chairman of the Board of Directors at sbo, is confident about this future course. "The separation will allow sbo/a.en and AVAG/EBM to continue to pursue their respective strategies. sbo/a.en is well positioned compared with its Swiss peers as both a medium-sized electricity and gas supplier and the operator of the largest water supply network in the canton of Solothurn, and we look forward to continuing to implement the ownership strategy specified by the City of Olten."

Working together with AVAG, Conrad Amman, EBM’s CEO, sees many opportunities: “AVAG is a successful and well-managed utility company, and is creates added value for us. Under EBM's management, we will be able to use the existing systems and infrastructure in an effective and cost-efficient manner, while at the same time creating opportunities for future shared growth."

Very little will change for the concession-granting local authorities in AVAG or for the network lease and operational management municipalities. AVAG will remain an independent network operator with its own tariff and price structure and a newly appointed management team. The previous contacts for implementing construction and investment projects will remain the same and will be housed at their own site in the Olten region. This means that AVAG's municipalities and clients will continue to benefit from the same high security of supply.

The parties involved – EBM, sbo, a.en and also UBS-CEIS – envisage that it will take approximately two years to separate and transfer operations with the due care and consideration.

Further information

  • Sbo/a.en: Beat Erne, Head of Marketing and Communication, phone +41 62 205 56 70 
  • EBM/AVAG: Joachim Krebs, Head of Corporate Communication, phone +41-61 415 43 85
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