Austria: That’s how much the domestic energy companies earn

While the costs for consumers have risen sharply, at least some companies are making solid profits.

Expensive gas, expensive electricity, expensive fuel. According to calculations by the Austrian Energy Agency, household energy was 42 percent more expensive in March than in the previous year. Meanwhile, the profits of the energy companies are increasing internationally. Many consumers feel ripped off. A closer look reveals a more differentiated picture in the industry (see grafic). The KURIER has researched what the sometimes massive differences are.

Wholesale prices rose sharply last year. First of all, because demand increased significantly in many countries when the corona restrictions expired. The Ukraine war has led to another rash.

Special tax

The EU Commission has made proposals to the member states on how they can relieve consumers without distorting competition. In addition to subsidies and subsidies, this also includes the possibility of special taxes on unexpected profits (so-called “windfall profits”). Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) recently spoke out in favor of the Ministry of Finance examining the proposal.

The energy suppliers argue that they need the profits to invest in the expansion of renewables. As a co-owner, the state also benefits both from the dividend and from the tax payment that has increased with sales.

One’s joy…

In the case of the Austrian energy companies, it is clear that sales are increasing with the higher market prices, but profits are not always developing in step with them. The biggest beneficiary of the high gas prices was OMV (see grafic). It has long-term supply contracts with Russia’s Gazprom and was able to resell the gas at a significantly higher price last year than last year.

Austria’s largest electricity company, Verbund, is also on record course. For this year, the company expects a profit of up to two billion euros. Because about 95 percent of the group’s own production comes from hydropower, and the production costs have risen significantly less than the income.

A differentiated picture emerges from the regional suppliers, insofar as comparable figures are already available. Lower Austria’s EVN recorded the largest increase in profits. However, this is less due to an increase in operating profit (EBIT) than to one-off effects such as the sale of shares in a German coal-fired power plant.

At Austria’s largest provincial utility Wien Energie, however, profits have plummeted. The reason is that about 60 percent of the company’s electricity and heat production is based on natural gas – and this has recently been expensive. Added to this are the increased prices for CO2-Certificates that Wien Energie has to pay for burning gas. Energie Steiermark is also feeling the effects of these costs for gas-powered district heating. In addition, the company has ceded some of its power plants to Verbund in return for subscription rights and therefore has to buy more electricity.

By Editor

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