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110th Annual General Meeting of Atel

The shareholders of Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity (Atel) who gathered at the company’s 110th Annual General Meeting in Olten could look back on another successful financial year. The 529 shareholders who attended the meeting(95,44 % of voting rights) approved the financial statements and a CHF 2 dividend increase to CHF 24 per share.

“The Atel Group has once again achieved major and decisive progress in 2004”, was how Dr. Walter Bürgi, chairman of the Board of Directors, commented on results for the fiscal year. Despite difficult conditions, Atel could react with the speed, flexibility and competence that make such repeated success possible in the first place. A new management and organisational structure put in place at the start of 2005 has oriented Atel even more strongly with the market.

Three pillars for success: generation, trading, and sales First-time marketing of energy supplies from the Edipower power stations in Italy contributed to the good results. Since early last year, Atel has been marketing 20 percent of the energy generated by the 9 power stations. Atel now has over 1600 MW of generation capacity in Italy, along with 1590 MW in Switzerland and around 1000 MW in Hungary and the Czech Republic combined. Sales and trading activity showed good development across all regions last year. Interaction between generation, trading and sales continued to function smoothly and efficiently in 2004.

Expedited market opening: calls to the Federal Council and Parliament Walter Bürgi again spoke out in favour of full-blown opening of the Swiss market all the way to the wall socket, while voicing concern that Switzerland lags behind the EU countries in this regard. He warned that an absence of bilateral agreements with the EU would bear the risk of discrimination or arbitrary retaliation by EU countries. “Atel calls on the Federal Council to begin negotiations with the EU without delay, and on Parliament to expedite the passage of electricity legislation”, said Walter Bürgi. In his view, bilateral agreements are the only means to safeguard the legitimate interests of the Swiss energy industry, by consolidating the legal underpinnings that secure Switzerland’s position as an electricity grid nexus and trading centre. Bürgi feels that Atel is justified in making such calls, given that over 90 percent of its sales originate outside the Swiss domestic market.

Electricity supply issues in Switzerland Switzerland’s electricity consumption is rising unremittingly, up by 1.9 percent in 2004, for example. “Electricity supply in Switzerland is by no means secure”, said board chairman Walter Bürgi, citing the growing incidence of excessive peaks in winter imports. Meanwhile, with the building of new power station capacities in Switzerland at a virtual standstill, there is increasingly urgent discussion about how the country will source its electricity in future. Climate protection issues and the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol add further dimensions to the debate.

Group sales grow to CHF 7 billion in 2004 CEO Giovanni Leonardi again reported impressive growth in his review of the 2004 fiscal year. Net sales rose by 32 percent to CHF 7 billion, consolidated profit was up by 25 percent to CHF 339 million, and the energy sales volume climbed 36 percent to 93 TWh. “We can add another most successful fiscal year to a whole series of positive annual results”, noted the Atel CEO.

Outlook for 2005 Atel expects for sales to increase slightly in 2005, with operating profit in the order of the prior year. Shutting down Leibstadt nuclear power station for several months will however have a pronounced negative influence on results. At present it is not possible to assess the exact extent. In addition the Fiscal year 2005 got off to a bumpy start, mostly due to cross-border electricity trading bottlenecks, lower water levels at Swiss hydro power stations, and off-line thermal power stations.

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity (Atel) 
Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity (Atel), Switzerland’s leading Energy Services provider, is active throughout Europe. Established in 1894, Atel now focuses on two core businesses: Energy Trading and Energy Services. The Olten-based Group, which employs approximately 7800 people, generated sales of 7 billion francs in 2004. Its principal markets in the Energy segment are Switzerland, Italy, Germany and the countries of central and eastern Europe. Products and services cover an extremely wide range: portfolio management, group energy supplies, energy derivatives and option contracts, distribution partnerships. Trading and distribution are supported by the Group’s own hydro and thermal power stations, and by an extensive transmission grid. In the Energy Services segment Atel provides a full range of technical services relating to all aspects of energy (electricity, gas, oil, biomass) and their applications: power, light, cooling and heating, communication and security. Atel is among the leading providers of Energy Services in both Switzerland and Germany.