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Digital and sustainability drive Italgas accounts

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The Board of Directors approves the results for the first nine months of 2019. All indicators are growing. CEO Paolo Gallo: "We combine 180 years of history with a start-up approach." The third quarter 2019 closed for Italgas with all financial indicators in positive. A particularly important result considering that the period July-September is the eleventh consecutive period in which the company led by Paolo Gallo manages to make progress in all the main items, starting from revenues and profits. All this is guided by two "cardinal points" that, among others, the company has set itself with the 2019-2025 strategic plan: digitization and sustainability. This is certified by the company's Board of Directors, which met under the chairmanship of Alberto Dell'Acqua, and which together with the Italgas quarterly report approved the consolidated results for the first nine months of the year.   "11 consecutive quarters of growth, double-digit increases in EBIT and net profit demonstrate Italgas' ability to combine the solidity of a company with over 180 years of experience, a start-up approach to promote innovation and a great attention to costs", says Paolo Gallo, CEO of Italgas. Focus on smart meters and digitization The program to replace meters with "smart meters"continues: from January to September, 1.5 million meters were installed, for a total installed fleet of 6.2 million new generation meters, which now represent 73.1% of the total installed meters, considering the companies in which the Group has an interest. The Roadmap foresees that the replacement will be completed in 2020. "The digital transformation - explained Gallo - remains our main objective: the Digital Factory, one year after its start-up, has already produced several digital solutions that are changing the way we manage our network with a significant improvement in the quality of service". Methanization in Sardinia Work is continuing on the island to install the distribution networks, an activity that has so far generated around 600 new jobs. At the end of September the worksites were started in all the basins under concession to the Group, for more than 18 thousand requests for new connections.  "The Sardinia project has obtained institutional recognition with the forthcoming entry into the shareholding structure of the Sardinian company of the Marguerite Fund, a high-profile European investor - stresses CEO Paolo Gallo -. On the island we have already laid over 300 kilometres of 'native digital' networks, the most modern in the country, with considerable interest from residents and businesses, a sign of the great expectation on the part of the territory: in the coming months we will begin to supply the first users with natural gas". Attention to sustainability The results are linked to a double thread for Italgas with an ever-increasing commitment and a renewed awareness of sustainability issues. It is precisely this strategy that has allowed the stock to be confirmed in the FTSE4Good Index Series and to enter the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Worldfor the first time, which indicates on a global scale the ability of companies to measure themselves against sustainability in all its aspects. Italgas is the only Italian utility in the gas distribution sector included in DJSI World, as well as the third in the world together with the Spanish Naturgy and the Japanese Osaka Gas. Data at a glance Looking quickly at the figures on consolidated results, total revenues amounted to 916.9 million euro, up 3.7%, with Ebitda (gross operating margin) up 5% to 660.7 million euro. As for technical investments, they amounted to 495.3 million euros, up 41.9%: "They continue to increase with growth that will take us to over 700 million at the end of the year - adds Gallo - Maintenance, development and digitization of the network are our 3 pillars". Considering the distribution network, the data including the investee companies show that there were 1,822 municipalities under concession for the gas distribution service in September 2019, with 7.617 million active meters and an infrastructure of 71 thousand kilometres. Forecasts for the end of the year Before the end of the year Italgas will be engaged in some international events to present its activity to investors all over the world. Starting from the sixteenth edition of the "London Conference" organized by Kempen in the capital of the United Kingdom, which has in its mission to "bring together capital with ideas" through a series of one-to-one talks between investors and senior management of the participating companies. Then, at the beginning of December, it is finally planned to participate in another event of the same kind in Australia, in Sydney. At the operational level, Italgas plans to continue its investment plan for the digitization of the grid, the installation of "smart" meters and the methanization of Sardiniain the coming months. The company also plans, as already indicated in the Strategic Plan 2019-2025, to participate in the tenders for the award of the natural gas distribution service. Moreover, after the acquisitions in 2018, development initiatives by external lines will continue throughout 2019, which will make it possible to strengthen the territorial presence and the growth of the business perimeter.