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Annual results 2003: Atel expands its leading position

Energy service provider Atel reported profits of CHF 272 million in 2003, up 60% on 2002. Consolidated turnover rose 43% to CHF 5.3 billion. Atel also processed standard products worth CHF 2.7 billion in 2003. The Board of Directors is proposing to increase the dividend from CHF 20 to CHF 22 per registered share.

Three elements dominated the 2003 financial year for Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity (Atel), namely the growth in pan-European electricity trading, the excellent results reported by the companies it acquired in Hungary and the Czech Republic at the end of 2002 and the continued expansion of its own production capacities. Overall, Atel achieved record results in turnover and profits in 2003. The quality of the results improved thanks to broad diversification. Thus, Atel expands its position as the leading energy service provider in Switzerland.

Reported turnover for the Atel Group rose 43% in 2003 to CHF 5.3 billion (2002: CHF 3.7 billion). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up 40% at CHF 360 million, bringing Group profits to CHF 272 million (2002: CHF 170 million). The rise is due to much better operating earnings, the first-time consolidation of companies acquired at the end of 2002 and one-off effects. At CHF 520 million, consolidated cash flow was 6% higher than in 2002. Capital expenditure totalled around CHF 600 million (2002: CHF 455 million). The average number of employees increased by 200 to around 8100.

Energy segment: buoyant energy business Business in the Energy segment was buoyant in all regions in 2003. As expected, the results were dominated by the first-time inclusion of Entrade and ECKG (Czech Republic) and Csepel (Hungary), with successful trading operations and strict cost management having a positive impact on earnings. Consolidated turnover in the Energy segment totalled CHF 3.8 billion (2002: CHF 2.3 billion) and earnings grew by 55% to CHF 327 million. Electricity sales were substantially higher in 2003 at 69 billion kWh (+73%). Atel also processed 67 billion kWh valued at CHF 2.7 billion in the form of standard products. As usual, Atel accounts for trading profit from standard products under net turnover. 

Energy Services segment: economy still weak The unfavourable economic situation affected the results in the Energy Services segment which comprises the GAH Group in Heidelberg and Atel Installationstechnik Group (AIT) in Zurich. Despite the weak economic conditions, the segment still managed to increase turnover by 3% to CHF 1.5 billion. As the German GAH Group had to absorb exceptional costs for restructuring measures, consolidated earnings for the segment fell to CHF 12 million (2002: CHF 26 million). 

2004: further growth Atel is expecting higher turnover in the Energy segment in 2004, principally from greater sales and trading activities. In Italy, Atel is marketing the full energy portion from Edipower directly through the Milan subsidiary for the first time. In the Energy Services segment, Atel is expecting positive stimulus from the economic upturn and restructuring, with turnover and earnings predicted to rise in 2004. Overall, the Atel Group is expecting growth in turnover and operating results to be around the same level as last year. 

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications 

Note:  Atel will be announcing its detailed results at the balance sheet media conference on 7 April 2004 in Olten.  The Annual General Meeting will be held on 29 April 2004 at the town hall in Olten.