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Investments, divestments and M&A

Investments

The Plan to 2024 calls for increased investments, coming to roughly 3.2 billion euro overall, with an annual average of 640 million: these figures are significantly higher (+40%) than the average seen over the last five years. In particular, an additional increase is expected in investments in internal development, coming to 2.9 billion, 400 million more than in the previous Plan, with a financial commitment proportionate to Hera’s presence in the areas served and the features of the various business areas.

The remaining 300 million will go to M&A transactions and tenders for regulated services, with a slight drop compared to the previous Plan due to delays in the schedules of a few gas tenders, partially offset by a higher amount dedicated to external investments.

 This economic commitment will, as usual, be mainly concentrated on regulated assets: 74% of investments will go to networks and activities in waste collection. More generally, 60% of the total amount of investments will be dedicated to projects respecting European objectives, of which 42% will go towards activities in line with the “Green Deal”.

In addition to the significant benefits expected in terms of reducing the Group’s emissions, and additional interventions for carbon neutrality, the investments will be aimed at increasing business resilience in order to guarantee greater service continuity, even when faced with extreme meteorological conditions, and favouring a circular economy, with interventions aimed at purifying and regenerating waste water, producing biomethane, increased production of recycled plastic, developing district heating and energy savings initiatives for industrial customers and public administrations.

The remaining 18% of investments will be channelled into the technological evolution of the Group and the areas served: from developments in IT systems intended to increase cybersecurity to operations in remote control, and from “smart” bins for sorted waste to new metres installed in the water, electricity and gas sectors.

M&A

Il modello di business di Hera è stato sviluppato per essere "aperto" alla crescita esterna con una governance inclusiva che permette l'allargamento della compagine sociale, per accogliere nuovi soci in cambio dell'apporto delle loro attività di business. La diversificazione dell'azionariato, unica nel settore multiutility, agevola questo tipo di espansione.

Hera's history demonstrates the effectiveness of the model for expansion that has allowed the Group to quintuple its size over 18 years, since its establishment, with a significant contribution coming from M&As (40% of growth created with M&As).

 
Merger and Acquisitions
 

The strategy of expansion through M&As represents an important source of value creation. Since the transactions were carried out with non dilutive multiples, shareholders can rely on the extraction of synergies (which lead to the creation of value) from mergers that make the most of scale economies and cross selling. In the past, this strategy has guaranteed an average increase in the Ebitda of merged companies coming to +25% in less than 5 years.

 
Companies
 

The strategy of external growth through M&As marks the transactions with "Mono-business" target companies and "Multi-utility" companies.

In the first case, Mono-business companies mainly include those involved in free market activities (waste treatment and energy sales) and generally owned by private entrepreneurs, which allows a transaction for a "cash" acquisition. As regards the geographic scope, even though the market is national and not local, Hera concentrates its areas for potential expansion along the Adriatic coast for activities in Commodity sales. In the waste treatment market, instead, the scope is national, since plants that are close to the customer are strategic (to reduce costs in logistics). Hera is indeed the nation's leader in this sector, by quantity of plants and volumes managed.

In the second case, Multi-utility companies are mainly owned by local authorities (Municipalities), with geographically localised activities that often concern concessions for services (water, waste collection, gas and electricity distribution). The geographic scope involves areas bordering with the reference area, i.e. North-Eastern Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Marche and Triveneto regions), since the speed and amount of the synergies that can be extracted from mergers are increased by geographical proximity. These transactions can take the form of mergers with the "partner" company in which the owners generally prefer to become Group shareholders. These transactions are usually carried out with exchanges of shares between the parties.

Hera will continue to focus on M&A transactions, selecting investments that offer potential synergies and are complementary to the Group's current activity portfolio: particular attention will go so selecting the targets (multi-utilities, in addition to companies involved in energy sales and waste treatment) in parts of the nation held to be strategic for each activity.

The projections included in the new plan to 2024 are based on a market analysis and the Group's track record. The goal for 2024 is for growth through M&As to contribute to Ebitda with +80m€.

The ways in which this target will be reached depend on the opportunities offered by a market which is still highly fragmentary and contains an excessive number of small-medium enterprises with a sub-optimal size, that have difficulty in remaining effectively and efficiently on the market.

The wide range of options concerns all sectors in which the Group is active, i.e. multi-utilities, energy sales or waste treatment.

Italian fragmented sectors (Potential targets)
Multi-utility>500 companies
Waste treatment>200 companies
Energy Supply>200 companies


 

 

M&A track record

 
CompanyBusiness/ActivitiesPress release/Presentation% stake
EstEnergy (Joint Venture with Ascopiave)Electricity and gas sales19/12/201952%
Pistoia AmbienteWaste management services30/07/2019100%
Cosea AmbienteWaste services09/05/2019100%
CMV ServiziGas distribution26/02/2019100%
CMV Energia e ImpiantiElectricity and gas sales26/02/2019100%
SangroserviziElectricity and gas sales20/03/2018100%
Megas.netGas distribution07/03/2018100%
Blu RantonElectricity and gas sales08/02/2018100%
TesecoWaste services30/01/17100%
AliplastWaste services11/01/17100%
Gran SassoElectricity and gas sales06/10/16100%
Julia servizi piùElectricity and gas sales08/04/16100%
Geo NovaWaste services29/12/2015100%
Waste RecyclingWaste services23/12/2015100%
Alento gasGas sales26/01/2015100%
EcoenergyWaste services27/11/2014100%
Amga UdineMulti utility25/06/2014100%
Fucino gasGas sales 13/01/2014100%
Est Reti ElettricheElectricity distribution12/12/2013100%
Isontina Reti GasGas distribution30/09/2013100%
AcegasApsMulti-utility25/07/2012
Analyst presentation
100%
SadoriGas sales14/04/201150%
EnomondoBiomass combustion plant11/01/201140%
AimagMulti-utility12/10/200925%
Tamarete EnergiaCCGT17/12/200832%
Megas TradeElectricity and gas sales28/07/2008100%
SATMulti-utility16/10/2007
23/07/2007
08/08/2006
19/10/2006
100%
Marche MultiserviziMulti-utility23/07/200741.8%
AspesMulti-utility28/06/2007
27/07/2006
49.8%
Enel electricity distribution grid in ModenaElectricity distribution27/06/2006
13/03/2006
100%
Geat Distribuzione GasGas distribution29/06/2006100%
Meta SpAMulti-utility24/06/2005
Analyst presentation
100%
Ecologia AmbienteWTE06/07/2004
Analyst presentation
100%
SETCCGT15/12/200439.0%
Calenia EnergiaCCGT28/09/200415.0%
Agea SpAMulti-utility27/07/2004
Analyst presentation
100%


Hera Group's focus on core business areas (Water, Waste, Energy) and streamlining of company structure has resulted in a major divestment/rationalization policy.

Divestments/rationalizations are underpinned by the following strategies:

  • Streamlining/financing development
  • Organizational focus

The numerous rationalization operations were in response to the need for a more efficient governance structure able to deliver significant cost savings.

 
Company mergers
 

Divestments: track record

YearDismission/
Closed
Merger/
De-merger
Acquisitions/
Estabilishment
ConfermentTransformationsTotal
201971170025
20182550012
201782100020
20165440215
20159890228
20145782-22
201312411--27
2012922-114
2011922-114
20103343 13
2009111284 35
20086171 15
20076263 17
200624373 37
2005233182 46
2004144290 47
2003264110 41
 


Page updated 13 January 2021

 
 
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