Luxembourg utility loses money, ups investment push
Profits fell by 44% last year at state-owned Encevo Group as businesses cut their energy consumption after the Covid-19 pandemic reached Luxembourg, the energy utility said on Wednesday.
Profit dropped to €38.2 million in 2020 from €67.9 million in 2019, in part due to writing off of the value of a coal-based power supply contract and ending sales to German businesses, the company said in its annual report.
Sales fell by 5% to almost €2 billion.
The group owns and operates electric power lines and natural gas pipelines in Luxembourg and the neighbouring German states of Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate. The company also operates renewable energy projects and consulting services in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Despite the pandemic's effects, the company invested a record €252 million last year, €50 million more than 2019, on expanding and modernising its electricity and other networks, the company said. Most important was starting construction on a new, extra-high-voltage line to carry electricity from nearby Trier, Germany, to stations in Bofferdange and Bertrange.
The new power line "aims to renew the existing infrastructure, which dates back to the 1960s. It will soon no longer be able to guarantee the security of supply or meet the ever-increasing demand for electricity," the company said.
Acquisitions of two smaller companies in 2020 added almost 200 employees to Encevo's payroll of nearly 2,200 workers.
Encevo plans to continue its high level of investment in its electric distribution network, spending another €821 million by 2025, the company said. The rush of investments means Encevo will need to turn to public debt markets as early as this year's fourth quarter, Encevo said.
The number of public charging stations for electric vehicles increased to 400 last year, including the first two SuperChargy fast-charging spots at the University of Luxembourg campus in Kirchberg, Encevo said. Clusters of SuperChargy units will be installed at 19 sites on main roads, motorway service areas, and in some park & ride (P+R) car parks, the company said.
New wind and solar power projects are planned for next year in Luxembourg and Germany.