As had been expected, 2013 was a very challenging year for the German biogas industry. While demand in Germany, which used to be the most important market for the sector, had slumped by 80% in 2012, the new plant construction volume again declined by about one quarter in 2013. This is attributable to the fact that the ongoing discussion about the future legal framework and potential retroactive amendments to the compensation paid for electricity from renewable sources is causing great uncertainty among all players along the value chain.
“EnviTec pushed ahead its international expansion at an early state and invested in the operation of its own biogas plants,” says Jörg Fischer, chief financial officer of EnviTec Biogas. “We are now benefiting from these investments in what is a difficult phase for our sector.”
Due to strong growth in the Own Plant Operation segment, EnviTec Biogas was able to nearly double its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to EUR 2.4m in the financial year 2013. Consolidated net income amounted to EUR 0.3m in 2013, compared to EUR 1.8m in the previous year. This is equivalent to earnings per share of EUR 0.02 for 2013 (previous year: EUR 0.08). EnviTec’s total sales revenues in 2013 amounted to EUR 148.8m, compared to EUR 190.5m in the previous year. For the first time ever, the Own Plant Operation segment made the biggest contribution to Group revenues. Revenues from the operation of own biogas plants increased by 53.1% from EUR 40.8m to EUR 62.5m. Sales revenues in the Plant Construction segment declined from EUR 124.6m to EUR 47.3m, to which the company’s international operations contributed EUR 25.6m.
Said Jörg Fischer: “Unfortunately, the current draft of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act fails to take into account the advantages of biogas and biomethane, which are highly versatile decentralised energy sources that can meet both baseload and peak load requirements without further grid expansion and thus act as important stabilisers in the system. Not even the grandfathering is finally secured. Instead, the federal government relies on imported natural gas and coal, the primary energy sources with the worst carbon footprint. We will therefore focus even more strongly on our foreign business and the operation of own biogas plants.”
EnviTec’s equity capital amounted to EUR 169.4m at the end of 2013, which gives the company a sound financial foundation. It is equivalent to an equity ratio of 57.4% (previous year: 52.3%). The net cash flow came in at EUR 37.8m (previous year: EUR 32.5m).
At the end of 2013, EnviTec Biogas had an order backlog worth EUR 67.6m, which is a good basis for a stable year 2014. EnviTec projects Group revenues of between EUR 145m and EUR 165m for the current financial year. Earnings before interest and taxes are expected to stay in positive territory.
The Own Plant Operation segment will again make the biggest contribution to Group sales and earnings. The company will continue to optimise the production capacity of 52 megawatts and build new plants on a selective basis. If warranted by the general environment, the production capacity will be increased by 4 MW each in 2014 and 2015. The focus will be on Germany and the UK.
Markets outside Germany will become increasingly important for the company’s plant construction activities. There are many attractive markets for biogas and biomethane. This is something the company prepared for in 2013 by increasing the efficiency of its structures and adjusting its product range. France and the UK are the most important foreign markets at present. EnviTec has also won and partly executed the first contracts in the USA and China.