02/24/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/24/2021 11:11
Ignacio Galán, Chairman of Iberdrola: 'Our balance sheet is supporting economic recovery, with record investments of more than €9.2 billion and €14 billion awarded to over 22,000 suppliers, the largest in our history, to support 400,000 jobs in our markets'.
'In this decade, we plan to invest €150 billion to triple our renewable capacity and double our network assets.'
Environmental, Social and Governance Commitment
Solid road map to 2025, uniquely positioned to grow over the decade
Next generation EU, an opportunity
In 2020, Iberdrola accelerated its response to the challenges of the energy transition in an unprecedented context and ramped up all of its activities with record investments of €9.24 billion, up 13% from previous year. 91% was allocated to the development of new renewables projects and electricity networks, in line with the group's strategy.
Good performance in all areas resulted in underlying EBITDA of €10.71 billion in 2020 (+8%), excluding an impact of €218 million from COVID-19 and the exchange rate effect, which was €487 million. By business, 75% of EBITDA was contributed from regulated areas (networks and renewables), while 76% comes from countries with an A rating. Offshore wind power contributed €585 million euros in this chapter, after growing by 72%.
The investment and operating performance increased the group's net profit in 2020 to €3.61 billion, up 4.2%. Growth would have reached 10%, but for the impact of COVID-19, which amounted to €238 million during the year. In 2021, the company expects to achieve net profit between €3.7 billion and €3.8 billion.
Despite the complexities of the pandemic, the company installed 4,000 new megawatts (MW) in the past 12 months - almost 3,000 MW 'green' in 2020 -, reaching 35,000 MW of installed renewables capacity. As a result, Iberdrola's emissions reduced by 11% in 2020 to 98 grCO2/kWh, reaffirming its commitment to become a carbon neutral company in Europe by 2030. In 2020, its emissions were between half and nearly three times lower than those of two of its main global competitors.
In 2020, Iberdrola continued to strengthen future growth prospects, increasing its project pipeline by 25 GW to 74.4 GW. The company has 17.4 GW of green projects under construction and development, of which 8.7 GW correspond to new solar facilities, 4.5 GW to onshore wind, 2.6 GW to offshore wind, 1.2 GW to hydroelectric, and 400 MW to batteries.
During the year, offshore wind was confirmed as one of the group's growth areas: Iberdrola has 1.3 GW installed and is progressing with the construction of a further 2.6 GW, with almost no seabed costs. The current offshore wind pipeline now totals 19 GW, of which 9 GW are ready for construction and 10 GW are planned for development in Sweden, Japan, Poland and Ireland. In 2020, offshore wind projects contributed €585 million to EBITDA, after growing by 72%; this contribution is expected to rise to €2.3 billion by 2030.
By markets, the weaker performance in Spain was offset by international growth, which now contributes two thirds of EBITDA. Electricity demand in the Iberian Peninsula fell by 5.1%, impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, causing the EBITDA of the activity in Spain to fall by 5% and its net profit by 13% in 2020. Despite this situation, investments increased by 21% to €2.1 billion, reflecting the commitment to green recovery in the country.
Shareholder remuneration rises 5% and financial ratios improve
Improved results allow Iberdrola to propose a shareholder remuneration for 2020 of €0.42 gross per share, 5% more than in 2019. The Board of Directors will present to the Shareholders' Meeting the approval of a final dividend at €0.252 gross per share, which will be added to the €0.168 gross per share paid as interim dividend. For 2021, the company expects to distribute a dividend of €0.44 per share.
The company also revamped its main financial ratios and underpinned its balance sheet strength: operating cash flow stood at €8.19 billion, after growing by 1.6%, and debt was reduced by 6.4% to €35.14 billion. In 2020, the company renewed its leadership in green finance, with €24.5 billion available under green or sustainable facilities.
Liquidity stood at €17.4 billion, covering 24 months' funding needs, and the company demonstrated its ability to access the markets. Recently, it placed the largest green hybrid bond issue in history: €2 billion at the lowest cost (1.45% and 1.825%).
Progress on the 2020-2025 Plan and unique position for growth by 2030
Iberdrola is uniquely positioned to continue growing over the next decade. In this regard, the group's Chairman, Ignacio Galán, stated that 'our balance sheet is supporting economic recovery, with record investments of more than €9.2 billion and €14 billion awarded to over 22,000 suppliers, the largest in our history, to support 400,000 jobs in our markets. In this decade, we plan to invest €150 billion to triple our renewable capacity and double our network assets.'
The company is advancing its €75-billion investment plan to 2025, which will reach €150 billion by 2030. This investment will deliver an installed capacity of 95 GW towards the end of the decade - doubling the current capacity to 60 GW in 2025 - and a regulated asset base of €60 billion (€47 billion in 2025). At the end of 2020, the value of these assets amounted to €31.1 billion, and in 2021 it will continue to grow to approximately €36 billion (+16%) with the contribution of the latest operations (in the integration phase): PNM Resources, in the United States, and the electricity distributor CEB-D, in Brazil.
Iberdrola also anticipates growth in the coming years from its customer base. In 2020, Iberdrola registered 43.8 million contracts, which it plans to increase to 48.5 million by the end of 2021. This will rise to 60 million in 2025 and around 70 million by 2030. In 2020, personalised 'smart solutions', already contributed 4% to net profit.
Another major growth area will be green hydrogen. Iberdrola is developing several projects to decarbonise industry and heavy transport in Spain and the United Kingdom and develop the supply chain. The company has also presented 53 projects to the Next Generation EU programme, which could activate €2.5 billion investments to achieve an annual production of 60,000 t/year.
These projects are part of the Next Generation EU programme, which will accelerate investment, economic recovery and support jobs in the short term. In the medium term, the proposals could transform industry in Spain. The company is spearheading 150 proposals, which would mobilise €21 billion of investment in Spain in green generation projects, smart grids, storage and energy efficiency through electrification. These could generate 45,000 jobs, support up to 350 companies and contribute 1.5% to Spain's GDP growth. In addition, Spain's balance of payments would improve by around €1 billion euros/year.
These investments and the foreseen business performance up to 2030 would allow Iberdrola to reach €5 billion net profit by 2025 and approximately €7 billion by 2030.
Shareholder remuneration is expected to evolve in line with results: the company expects a dividend of €0.56 gross/share for 2025 and around €0.75 gross per share in 2030. This dividend policy represents a 40% increase in shareholder remuneration for the period 2019-2025 and approximately 90% increase between 2019-2030.
Forward-looking model based on ESG principles
Iberdrola will continue to strengthen its commitment to ESG (environment, society and governance) principles, which form the basis of its business model. A leader and pioneer in the energy transition, it is already a driver of social transformation and a benchmark in good governance and transparency.
This commitment has enabled the group to continue supporting a green economic recovery: with procurement from suppliers totaling €14 billion in 2020, helping to maintain 400,000 jobs across the value chain. New recruits during the year were 3,800 people. Also, the tax contribution for the year amounted to €7.5 billion worldwide, of which €3.4 billion corresponded to Spain. In the latter, the tax bill stands at 43% of earnings before taxes and duties.
The group has launched the 'Energy for Progress' plan, implementing more than 350 measures to strengthen its ESG approach. As a result, Iberdrola will bolster its leadership in the energy transition, foster innovation, contribute to the creation of new quality jobs, improving the quality of life of the population; and continue to implement best governance practices, while promoting a sustainable financial market.