The strategy pursued over the last two years allowed Italgas to achieve the planned 15% decrease in operating costs over the 2016 level already in 2017, one year in advance.
In 2018, a further 3% reduction vs. the 2017 cost-base was delivered in 2017.
In addition, the Company intends to leverage on the benefits coming from digitization: with the ongoing transformation, it expects a total saving of 160 million euro over the Plan’s period, through:
- 90-million savings in opex
- 40-million savings in capex
- ca. 30-million increase in revenues, driven by incentives on leak detection.
Efficienza a sostegno della crescita
Italgas presents an optimal financial structure, with a low cost of debt. A virtuous situation that the Company plans to maintain in the next years, with the aim of having at its disposal the financial flexibility needed to seize growth opportunities.
At 2018 year-end, Italgas leverage (calculated as Net Debt-to-RAB) was slightly below 60%, i.e. at 59.6%, a level that the Company expects to maintain stable in the coming years.
Given a well-balanced financial structure, Italgas would continue to preserve a solid investment grade rating, as in the current situation (Moody’s: Baa2 and Fitch BBB+).
In the Plan’s time span, the cost of debt, presently slightly above 1%, is expected to remain at excellent levels.
Italgas is also committed to maintaining the current weight of the fixed-rate debt (87%) as long as the current low-interest rate environment lasts, with a targeted landing point at the end of the Plan’s period, represented by a mix of 2/3 fixed and 1/3 floating rate debt.
Crescita del dividendo
The Company confirms its commitment to guarantee its shareholders an attractive, growing and sustainable earnings distribution, in line with the dividend policy presented in June 2018.
For the 2018-2020 three-year period, Italgas expects to remunerate its shareholders through the distribution of a dividend per share (DPS) equal to the higher of:
- the amount resulting from the 2017 DPS, increased by 4% per year
- the DPS equivalent to a 60% payout on consolidated net earnings per share.
In May 2019, Italgas paid a 2018 DPS of 0.234 euro, 12.5% higher than the dividend of the previous year.