Delegates back EBM
In a demanding and turbulent environment, EBM again expanded and consolidated its position in 2015. At the 118th EBM delegate meeting in Münchenstein, the responsible managers presented the positive effects of the strategy initiated four years ago of concentrating on the core business areas of energy, grid, heat and renewable energies, combined with consistent cost management. The delegates approved all statutory business.
In 2015 sales of the EBM group declined slightly by 3% to CHF 407 million. By contrast, operating results before special effects rose 23% to CHF 53 million, although annual net income fell by around one-third to CHF 20 million.
Even so, Chairman of the Board of Directors Alex Kummer and CEO Conrad Amman emphasised that EBM had had a successful year in 2015. The reason for the decrease in sales and net income is the continued difficult and turbulent market environment. Electricity prices in Europe have fallen by more than half within the space of five years. Market prices for electricity produced in Switzerland, now at three to four cents per kilowatt hour, are in a critical range. and the elimination of the EUR/CHF floor has further exacerbated the situation. Because of the falling euro exchange rate, the value of investment and income abroad had to be revised downward. EBM also further wrote down the value of electricity purchase contracts and its own production plants. This resulted in a negative effect of CHF 34 million in 2015, which particularly impacted the electricity business.
Despite this turbulent environment, EBM is on an uptrend, and will continue this in the current year. EBM again earned respectable annual net income, and with an equity ratio of 74% the company has a solid balance sheet and very good credit rating. Another very good piece of news is the acquisition of AVAG, an energy utility based in the Olten region, which EBM has acquired together with Städtischen Betrieben Olten (sbo) and UBS Clean Energy Infrastructure Switzerland (UBS-CEIS). Conrad Ammann gave a detailed report on developments to the delegates.
The 215 delegates approved the annual report and annual financial statements, and approved the acts of the organs in the 2015 financial year. The meeting also supported the suggestion of the Board of Directors to hold the delegate meeting in April, starting from the coming year, and approved the necessary amendment to the by-laws.
In the elections for the Board of Directors, incumbents Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter, Biel-Benken, Gilbert Fuchs, Hagenthal-le-Bas and Bernard Schmitter, Saint-Louis, were reelected. The meeting elected Dr Beatrice Van der Haegen-Graber, Münchenstein as a new member of the Board of Directors.