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HAUSSE DES RESULTATS INDUSTRIELS ET DU DIVIDENDE

Mercredi 13 Fév 2008 à 12:13

Etude du rapport annuel 2007 par le conseil d'administration d'Edison

EDISON : HAUSSE DES RESULTATS INDUSTRIELS ET DU DIVIDENDE

Augmentation de 4,5 % de l'EBITDA qui atteint 1605 millions d'euros (soit une hausse de 7,1 % après cession de Serene et Edison Rete)

Le bénéfice avant impôts et le bénéfice net (à l'exclusion des effets d'impôts extraordinaires et déduction faite des cessions) augmentent nettement

Le conseil d'administration conseille le versement d'un dividende de 0,05 euros par action ordinaire (+ 4,2 %). En tenant compte de l'augmentation du nombre d'actions, le montant du dividende progresse de 15 %

Milan, 12 février 2008 - Le conseil d'administration d'Edison s'est réuni aujourd'hui afin d'étudier le rapport annuel au 31 décembre 2007.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EDISON GROUP

(in millions of euros)

 
2007  
2006  
VAR %  
2006  
VAR %  
       (restated for the disposal of Edison Rete and Serene)    
           
Sales revenues  8,276  8,523  (2.9)  8,398  (1.5)  
EBITDA  1,605  1,536  4.5  1,499  7.1  
% on sales revenues  19.4%  18%    17.8%    
EBIT  896  752  19.1  736  21.7  
Profit before taxes  687  559  22.9  545  26.1  
Net profit  497  654  (24)  534  (6.9)  

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ELECTRIC POWER AND HYDROCARBONS SECTORS

(in millions of euros)

 
2007  
2006  
VAR %  
2006  
VAR %  
       (restated for the disposal of Edison Rete and Serene)    
           
Electric Power Operations            
Sales revenues  6,783  6,945  (2.3)  6,748  0.5  
EBITDA  1,238  1,162  6.5  1,125  10  
% on sales revenues  18.3%  16.7%    16.7%    
           
Hydrocarbons Operations            
Sales revenues  3,937  4,171  (5.6)  4,171  (5.6)  
EBITDA  427  434  (1.6)  434  (1.6)  
% on sales revenues  10.8%  10.4%    10,4%    

Operating Performance of the Group in 2007

In 2007, Edison reported further improvements in operating performance, increasing its presence in the Italian market and embarking on a path toward international expansion.

These results were achieved in a particularly difficult external environment, as growth in the electric power and natural gas markets slowed considerably compared with historical trends. Specifically, demand was up 0.7% for electric power and just 0.1% for natural gas, compared with average annual increases of 2.3% and 3.8% in the electric power and natural gas industries, respectively, during the past 10 years. Lower growth in the national economy and last winter's mild temperatures are the main reasons for this contraction.

A slowdown in demand, coupled with increased competition in the electric power market (new power plants with more than 5,000 Megawatts in generating capacity came on stream in 2007), caused a reduction in average energy prices: Power Exchange prices were lower by an average of 5% compared with 2006. Natural gas prices were also down, due both to the strength of the euro and the lag with which higher oil prices are reflected on the sales price of natural gas.

The Group's results for 2007 were adversely affected by changes in the regulatory framework - Resolution No. 249/06 published by the Electric Power and Natural Gas Authority in particular - that reduced profit margins.

In addition, the Group sold some of its CIP6 power plants in 2007, causing the deconsolidation of the corresponding operations. Consequently, comparisons between the data for 2006, which included such operations and the disposal of Edison Rete, and those for 2007 are also presented net of the impact of both divestitures.

Despite the challenging market environment, Edison was able to increase sales to deregulated market customers by 2.1%, thereby helping cushion the shortfall in sales revenues, which decreased to 8,276 million euros (-1.5%, -2.9% based on an unadjusted scope of consolidation), reflecting the impact of a reduction in regulated market sales caused by Resolution 249/06.

Nevertheless, EBITDA grew by 4.5% to 1,605 million euros (+7.1% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete). The electric power operations (+6.5%, +10% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete) benefited from several factors, including the availability of high-efficiency generating capacity and the positive impact of an effective policy implemented to optimize the "sources and uses" portfolio in the deregulated markets. The hydrocarbons operations (-1.6%) were penalized by the impact of Resolution No. 249/06 and by a decrease in sales to residential users caused by an exceptionally mild winter. Even so, the Group's profitability increased in both businesses: the ratio of EBITDA to sales revenues improved from 16.7% to 18.3% for the electric power operations and from 10.4% to 10.8% for the hydrocarbons operations. For the Group as a whole, the return on sales grew from 18% to 19.4%

EBIT rose by 19.1% to 896 million euros (+21.7% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete) thanks to an increase in production volumes (+6.5% overall, +14.7% for the production of merchant power plants), and profit before taxes grew by 22.9% to 687 million euros (+26.1% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete), due mainly to a reduction in FINANCIAL expense.

The net profit totaled 497 million euros, down from 654 million euros in 2006 (534 million euros net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete). This reduction is entirely related to income tax factors. The income tax burden increased by about 160 million euros compared with 2006, when extraordinary events had virtually eliminated the Company's tax liability. In 2007, the tax burden was approximately 170 million euros, having also benefited of the reversal of deferred-tax liabilities of about 130 million euros, MADE possible by the new tax rates enacted with the 2008 Budget Law.

In 2007, Edison's electric power operations completed one of the most ambitious production capacity expansion programs carried out in Europe during the past 10 years, thereby creating a strong foundation for the Group's future growth. In addition, the Company took its first significant step beyond Italy's borders, agreeing to establish a joint venture in Greece with an initial installed capacity of about 800 Megawatts.

The Group's hydrocarbons operations made decisive progress in the development of the large-scale infrastructures for the importation of natural gas that it is currently building. These projects are of fundamental importance for Italy, which has chosen natural gas as its primary source for the production of electric power. These infrastructures (the Rovigo regasification terminal and the Galsi and IGI natural gas pipelines) will enable Edison to achieve full supply independence and will help diversify its sources of supply, thereby making the entire system more reliable.

Sales Volumes and Revenues

In 2007, sales revenues totaled 8,276 million euros (-2.9%, -1.5% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete) due to a decrease in the average prices charged for natural gas and electric power in Italy (the national reference price, called PUN in Italian, was down 5% on an annual basis) and to the impact of Resolution No. 249/06.

The electric power operations reported a 2.1% increase in unit sales to deregulated market customers, which reached 41,357 GWh (40,488 GWh in 2006), reflecting the positive impact of successful sales policies and higher Power Exchange sales. This gain was offset by a reduction in CIP6 sales. As a result, total unit sales by the electric power operations amounted to 63,773 GWh, compared with 65,400 GWh in 2006 (-2.5%, +0.2% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete).

Unit sales of natural gas totaled 13,817 million cubic meters (+1.3%). Residential and industrial customers purchased 3,736 million cubic meters (-16.4%, due to an exceptionally mild winter), with consumption by the Group's thermoelectric power plants mainly accounting for the balance (+10.1%, due to increased production by these facilities).

EBITDA

In 2007, EBITDA grew by 4.5% (+7.1% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete) to 1,605 million euros.

The EBITDA reported by the electric power operations in 2007 rose to 1,238 million euros (1,162 million euros 2006), for a year-over-year gain of 6.5% (+10% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete). This improvement is the result of a sharp increase in production volumes (+6.5% overall, +14.7% for the production of merchant power plants) and of an effective strategy of optimizing the "sources and uses" portfolio in the deregulated markets, which more than offset the impact of the lower margins earned on CIP6 sales.

The EBITDA reported by the hydrocarbons operations totaled 427 million euros (434 million euros in 2006, -1.6%), as the beneficial effect of the higher margins that the operating activities were able to generate by optimizing the sources portfolio was more than offset by the negative impact of Resolution No. 249/06, which amounted to 180 million euros.

EBIT, Profit Before Taxes and Net Profit

EBIT amounted to 896 million euros in 2007, up from 752 million euros in 2006 (+19.1%, +21.7% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete).

The profit before taxes reported at December 31, 2007 totaled 687 million euros, or 22.9% more than the 559 million euros earned the previous year (+26.1% net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete). A reduction in financial expense, made possible by the Group's improved financial structure, is the main reason for this gain.

In 2007, the Group's net profit totaled 497 million euros (-24% compared with the 654 million euros reported in 2006; -6.9% compared with 534 million euros net of the disposal of Serene and Edison Rete). This reduction is entirely related to income tax factors. The income tax burden increased by about 160 million euros compared with 2006, when extraordinary events had virtually eliminated the Company's tax liability. In 2007, the tax burden was approximately 170 million euros, having also benefited of the reversal of deferred-tax liabilities of about 130 million euros, made possible by the new tax rates enacted with the 2008 Budget Law.

Indebtedness

At December 31, 2007, the Group's net borrowings amounted to 2,687 million euros, down sharply compared with the 4,256 million euros owed at December 31, 2006. The positive cash flow from operations, which more than offset capital expenditures and investments in exploration (489 million euros in 2007), a capital increase of about 1 million euros generated by the conversion of warrants and 117 million euros in proceeds from the disposal of Serene account for this improvement.

The debt/equity ratio improved significantly, standing at 0.33, compared with 0.62 at December 31, 2006.

Outlook for 2008

Even though uncertainties in the regulatory framework will affect operating conditions, the full availability of new power plants in Simeri Crichi (800 MW) and Turbigo (800 MW, owned by Edipower), coupled with the beneficial impact of an effective strategy to optimize the energy portfolio, should enable the Group to achieve industrial results that are in line with those reported in 2007.

Result of the Group's Parent Company

Edison Spa, the Group's Parent Company, reported a net profit of 449 million euros at December 31, 2007, compared with a net profit of 632 million euros in 2006.

Dividends

The Board of Directors will recommend that the Shareholders' Meeting declare a dividend of 0.05 euros per common share and 0.08 euros per savings share, thereby increasing the dividend by 4.2% and 2.6%, respectively. Overall, dividends, taking also into consideration the increased number of shares, amount to approximately 268 million euros, up 15% compared to 233 million euros last year.

The Board of Directors agreed to convene a Regular Shareholders' Meeting on March 31 (on the first calling) and on April 1 (on the second calling) to approve the 2007 annual financial statements. The dividend will be payable as of April 17, 2008 (coupon presentation date: April 14, 2008).

Lastly, the Board of Directors approved the 2007 Corporate Governance Report.

Conference Call

The Group's operating results for 2007 will be discussed today at 5:00 PM (4:00 PM GMT) during a conference call. Journalists may follow the presentation by telephone in listen-only mode by dialing +39 02 802 09 27.

The presentation will also be available at the Group's website: www.edison.it.

As required by Article 154-bis, Section 2, of the Uniform Finance Law (Legislative Decree No. 58/1998), Marco Andreasi, in his capacity as "Dirigente Preposto alla redazione dei documenti contabili societari" of Edison S.p.A., attests that the accounting information contained in this press release is consistent with the data in the Company's documents, accounting records and other records.

The Report on Operations, the draft 2007 annual financial statements, the 2007 consolidated financial statements, the Report of the Statutory Auditors and the Report of the Independent Auditors will be available at the Company's headquarters, at Borsa Italiana through the NIS system and at the Group's website (www.edison.it) within the statutory deadline.

* * *

Edison's Press Office: Tel. +39 02 62227331, ufficiostampa@edison.it

Edison's Investor Relations: Tel. +39 02 62228415, investor.relations@edison.it

www.edison.it

Public disclosure required by Consob Resolution No. 11971 of May 14, 1999, as amended.

Consolidated Balance Sheet

(in millions of euros)

 
12/31/07  
12/31/06  
     
ASSETS      
Property, plant and equipment  7,619  8,057  
Investment property  11  40  
Goodwill  3,518  3,518  
Hydrocarbon concessions  299  323  
Other intangible assets  36  44  
Investments in associates  44  44  
Available-for-sale investments  184  122  
Other financial assets  139  130  
Deferred-tax assets  78  102  
Other assets  61  85  
Total non-current assets  11,989  12,465  
     
Inventories  250  387  
Trade receivables  1,654  1,943  
Current-tax assets  13  15  
Other receivables  371  276  
Current financial assets  25  42  
Cash and cash equivalents  103  298  
Total current assets  2,416  2,961  
     
Assets held for sale  318  231  
     
Total assets  14,723  15,657  
     
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY      
Share capital  5,292  4,273  
Equity reserves  641  606  
Other reserves  1,114  1,116  
Reserve for currency translations  -5  -3  
Retained earnings (Loss carryforward)  465  97  
Profit (Loss) for the period  497  654  
Total Group interest in shareholders' equity  8,004  6,743  
Minority interest in shareholders' equity  147  147  
Total shareholders' equity  8,151  6,89  
     
Provision for employee severance indemnities and provision for pensions  68  72  
Provision for deferred taxes  560  752  
Provision for risks and charges  899  881  
Bonds  1,201  1,207  
Long-term borrowings and other financial liabilities  1,216  502  
Other liabilities  2  2  
Total non-current liabilities  3,946  3,416  
     
Bonds  9  1,457  
Short-term borrowings  485  1,461  
Trade payables  1,394  1,576  
Current taxes payable  9  26  
Other liabilities  652  694  
Total current liabilities  2,549  5,214  
     
Liabilities held for sale  77  137  
     
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity  14,723  15,657  

Income Statement

(in millions of euros)

 
2007  
2006  
     
Sales revenues  8,276  8,523  
Other revenues and income  583  777  
Total net revenues  8,859  9,3  
     
Raw materials and services used (-)  -7,035  -7,554  
Labor costs (-)  -219  -210  
EBITDA  1,605  1,536  
     
Depreciation, amortization and writedowns (-)  -709  -784  
EBIT  896  752  
     
Net financial income (expense)  -198  -246  
Income from (Expense on) equity investments  -17  16  
Other income (expense), net  6  37  
Profit before taxes  687  559  
     
Income taxes  -170  -9  
Profit (Loss) from continuing operations  517  550  
     
Profit (Loss) from discontinued operations  -  112  
Profit (Loss)  517  662  
     
Broken down as follows:      
Minority interest in profit (loss)  20  8  
Group interest in profit (loss)  497  654  
     
Earnings per share (in euros)      
     
Basic earnings per common share  0.1040  0.1522  
Basic earnings per savings share  0.1340  0.1822  
     
     
Diluted earnings per common share  0.0976  0.1377  
Diluted earnings per savings share  0.1340  0.1822  

Cash Flow Statement

 
(in millions of euros)  
2007  
2006  
       
 Group interest in profit (loss) from continuing operations  497  542  
 Group interest in profit (loss) from discontinued operations  -  112  
 Total Group interest in profit (loss)  497  654  
       
 Minority interest in profit (loss)  20  8  
 Amortization and depreciation  706  700  
 Interest in the result of companies valued by the equity method (-)  1  -2  
 Dividends received from companies valued by the equity method  3  -  
 (Gains) Losses on the sale of non-current assets  -16  1  
 (Revaluations) Writedowns of intangibles and property, plant and equipment  3  84  
 Change in the provision for employee severance indemnities  -3  2  
 Change in other operating assets and liabilities  178  -413  
A.  Cash flow from continuing operations  1,389  1,034  
       
 Additions to intangibles and property, plant and equipment ( - )  -494  -548  
 Additions to non-current financial assets ( - )  -337  -85  
 Proceeds from the sale of intangibles and property, plant and equipment  72  28  
 Proceeds from the sale of non-current financial assets  103  345  
 Capital grants received during the year  -  -  
 Change in the scope of consolidation  -  29  
 Other current assets  17  34  
B.  Cash used in investing activities  -639  -197  
       
 Receipt of new medium-term and long-term loans  1,271  1,203  
 Redemptions of new medium-term and long-term loans (-)  -3,08  -1,712  
 Capital contributions provided by controlling companies or other shareholders  1,019  -  
 Dividends paid to controlling companies or minority shareholders (-)  -248  
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