The P&L of the first half of 2019 shows improvements for all the main indicators, compared to the same period of 2018. Italgas proves to be well on track on the growth path set out in the Strategic Plan.
The double-digit growth in Net Profit (+10.3%) reflects the positive contribution from the operating performance, with EBITDA increasing by 2.3% and an even more dynamic improvement in EBIT, which is 8.3% higher as a result of an 8.9 mln€ decrease in Depreciation and Amortisation. Amortisation decline is mainly attributable to the close completion of the replacement program of traditional meters with the digital ones. Lastly, also fiscal efficiency shows improvements; despite higher taxable income, tax rate decreased from 27.9% in H1 2018 to 27.5%.
Much higher investments, fully funded by operating cash flow
Italgas gave grat boost to the execution of its Investment Plan: in first-half 2019, Capex increased by 39.4%, reaching 317.7 mln€.
Investments in distribution were mainly focused on initiatives for the development and renewal of the pipes, while the metering investments essentially refer to the installation of 870,000 smart meters, out of which 738,700 as replacement of the traditional ones. At the end of June 2019, excluding affiliates, 5.1 million new-generation devices have been installed, meaning 67.8% of total meters.
In the first six months of 2019, cash flow from operations, equal to 507.7 million, fully covered net investments for 252.6 mln€. Free Cash Flow before M&A therefore was 255.1 mln€, an amount allowing for the distribution of 2018 dividends (189.3 mln€) and the funding of a significant part of the cash paid for M&A deals (110.1 mln€).
Net Financial Debt as at 30 June 2019 was therefore 3,858.7 mln€, with a limited change (+1.2%) compared to the level of 3,814.3 mln€ recorded at the end of 2018,
As at 30 June 2019, Italgas continues to show a solid and efficient debt structure, with 84% of fixed rate debt and no refinancing need before 2022.