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.