KARLSRUHE/STUTTGART (dpa-AFX) - After a big plus last year, the Karlsruhe-based energy company EnBW is expecting a decline in earnings in 2024 due to falling sales prices. Even though the new EnBW CEO Georg Stamatelopoulos counts affordability as one of the most important goals of the energy supply and states that he has the interests of consumers in mind when it comes to the Energiewende, they will soon have to pay higher bills.

The customers

EnBW had already announced that it would be raising electricity prices by 15.9 percent as of April 1. On Wednesday in Stuttgart, Stamatelopoulos explained that two thirds of the increase was due to the discontinuation of the federal subsidy for grid fees. "You cannot expect EnBW to replace a state subsidy." During the energy crisis, the company had not used the increased prices to pass them on directly. In order to guarantee the security of supply, EnBW buys in advance and can thus compensate for fluctuations. However, the fact that more expensive electricity was purchased is now having an impact.

Stamatelopoulos emphasized that historically high investments on the way to an affordable Energiewende are also having an impact. EnBW has more than 5.5 million customers.

The figures

"EnBW is doing well," said Stamatelopoulos, who recently took over as Group CEO following the surprising departure of Andreas Schells due to differences of opinion with the Supervisory Board regarding the corporate strategy. The company is on a stable economic footing, he said. "There is no reason for a massive change of course."

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) rose - for the seventh year in a row - by a good 60 percent to 6.37 billion euros in 2023. This was primarily due to the "Sustainable Generation Infrastructure" segment. Contrary to what the name suggests, the majority of the result here of around 4.6 billion euros is attributable to thermal generation - i.e. coal and gas - and trading. Due to increased market prices and fluctuations, the volumes of electricity generated were sold at significantly better conditions compared to 2022, it said.

Thanks to the expansion of wind power and photovoltaics, renewable energies now account for 47% of total installed generation capacity. By 2030, the share of green electricity is set to rise to up to 80 percent.

Compared to 2022, it must also be taken into account that this year was characterized by the energy crisis resulting from the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The fact that Russia stopped supplying gas had a negative impact at the time and a replacement had to be procured for the missing quantities from the gas subsidiary VNG. In 2023, the imbalance at biogas trader BMP Greengas also had a negative impact on earnings.

The forecast

As the electricity generated this year is likely to be sold at lower prices, CFO Thomas Kusterer lowered his expectations for 2024. The development of the past year cannot simply be continued, particularly in the area of thermal generation and trading. EnBW therefore now expects an adjusted result of 4.6 billion to 5.2 billion euros. The development also affects other energy companies. Eon and RWE, for example, now expect a decline after a plus in 2023.

The investments

Stamatelopoulos explained that EnBW will significantly increase its investments in the Energiewende again in the coming years due to the very good result. Gross investments of 40 billion euros are planned by 2030, around 90 percent of which will be in Germany. According to CFO Kusterer, this amounts to around 22 billion euros net.

According to the Group CEO, the focus will include the expansion of renewable energies and the grid infrastructure, as well as topics such as charging infrastructure for electromobility and the Energiewende at home. "This makes EnBW one of the largest investors in the implementation of the Energiewende in Germany," he said. The aim is to "effectively combine the three major overarching goals of the energy supply - sustainability, security of supply and affordability - in the interests of the Energiewende and consumers".


The EnBW CEO emphasized that stable framework conditions are important for the Energiewende. The key points of the power plant strategy, for example, were still too vague. At the beginning of February, the German government announced that ten gigawatts of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants would be put out to tender at short notice. "If the power plants are to be built quickly, we need clarity quickly and the first tenders before the end of this year," said Stamatelopoulos. The plan is ambitious, but it could succeed.

This and the planned expansion of renewable energies will also determine whether EnBW's exit from coal, which was announced last year, will work by 2028.

EnBW has been largely owned by the public sector since 2011. The state of Baden-Württemberg and the OEW association of nine Upper Swabian districts each hold almost 47 percent. The number of employees rose by more than six percent over the course of a year to 28,630 (as of December 31). In the coming years, 9600 more employees are to be hired - partly to replace colleagues who are leaving, said Stamatelopoulos. However, several thousand new jobs will also be created./kre/DP/ngu