Karlsruhe. EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG is continuing to base its strategy on close links to the customer and growth in partnerships: "The success of our strategy of playing an active role at the outset in shaping the energy markets in Germany and Europe gives us the confidence to continue down this road", said the EnBW chairman of the board Gerhard Goll on Tuesday at the EnBW balance sheet press conference in Karlsruhe. With a network of regional, national and European partnerships and holdings in various companies as well as its own subsidiaries, the third largest German energy undertaking can forge close links with its customers wherever the liberalisation of the energy markets allows this. Goll expressed the expectation that the obstacles to electricity wheeling which has only been functioning in an unsatisfactory manner for a long time in Germany, could still be overcome this year. Goll is also relying on the success of the EU Commission in its efforts to press for a swift full liberalization of the electricity and gas markets in Europe.
The EnBW chairman of the board gave as examples of the EnBW network of energy partnerships and holdings already in place and continuing to grow, the acquisition of the majority holding in Neckarwerke Stuttgart AG (NWS), the "Energie-Team Baden-Württemberg" – a common platform of municipal authorities and EnBW for the bundling of complementary competences – the holding in the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf AG and the formation of the common subsidiary ENRW GmbH for opening up the markets in the whole of North Rhine-Westphalia and the neighbouring Benelux areas, EnBW’s involvement in the fourth largest Spanish energy company, Hidrocantábrico as well as the takeover of the energy division of the Swiss Lonza Group. All these very different partnerships and holdings have the common goal "to gain more and more permanent customers by convincing performance, fair prices and partnership deals", said Gerhard Goll.
A high priority in EnBW’s strategy for this year is the expansion of the energy network in the gas sector: The already contractually agreed partnership with the Italian ENI, the largest gas corporation in Europe, now offers us the chance - says Goll - "just as four years ago when the German electricity market was opening up, to play an important role in the tough gas market." The EnBW chairman of the board was optimistic in assessing the chances of being able to take over the majority in Gasversorgung Süddeutschland GmbH (GVS) together with the ENI partner: "In our overall gas thinking, GVS has an important role to play in developing the gas market - GVS therefore opens up the prospects for the future. This will convince the Baden-Württemberg land authorities and the local authorities but above all the employees of GVS."
"A mutually beneficial partnership" was how Gerhard Goll described the experiences of the first years with the new EnBW shareholder Electricité de France (EDF): Both partners could take advantage of the fact that they had already been working together as companies for decades. Goll: "We are convinced that this partnership is here to stay - and will especially benefit our customers.” The shareholding of EDF in EnBW has "strengthened the competitiveness and autonomy of EnBW.”
The hope for a breakthrough in electricity wheeling, still obstructed by a large number of German electricity grid operators with excessive wheeling prices and bureaucratic hurdles, was justified by the EnBW chairman of the board on the basis of the malpractice proceedings initiated by the Federal Monopolies Commission against a number of grid operators and the "Verbändevereinbarung II plus” which came into force at the turn of the year. However, the situation would have to improve this year "or else electricity competition in Germany would be brought to its knees."
EnBW business development marked by growth and consolidation
Gerhard Goll expressed his satisfaction at the business development of EnBW in 2001: It was possible to combine the two goals. growth and consolidation. The end of the year report confirmed the company’s planning targets, in some areas, the targets were even clearly exceeded. The EnBW Group did not just grow by acquiring holdings in other companies but also by winning over new customers and opening up new markets. 2001 was also marked by "the Yello success story." With over 700,000 customers Yello was able to convince more than half the households who were switching their electricity supplier.
Gerhard Goll sees EnBW as well equipped to face the current and coming years: "Our early and energetic start in competition and markets is bearing fruit – in terms of turnover and earnings but also company know-how. Our partners value this, our customers feel this and the money markets and reputable rating agencies also confirm this. EnBW must and will maintain, constantly renew and exploit this competitive advantage.