MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
"2016 was once again a year where we were successful in achieving those goals."
In 2016, work continued to implement the plans presented to the public the previous year.
Certain that our approach remains up to date, I’d like to start by recalling the three main pillars of our strategy:
- Retain focus on operations, managing our concessions for the transmission of electricity and transmission and storage of natural gas with the highest standards of safety and efficiency;
- Maintain solid financial discipline based on conservative policies which aim to safeguard our investment level rating, while also maintaining a steady and sustainable dividend policy;
- Seek opportunities for growth in markets where economic stability and policy match our low risk profile, and which are compatible with our medium and long-term financial goals.
This strategy is built on our core values:
- To manage human capital positively by investing in training and development, to lead in technological innovation and processes and to act in a responsible and demanding manner both socially and ethically.
- To employ corporate governance which is defined in accordance with the strictest standards of transparency and fully respects the rights of our shareholders in general, complying with all legal requirements.
- To ensure our commitment to the communities we serve through an active policy of social and environmental sustainability, and finally, to work with the aim of meeting our responsibilities, including the creation of long-term value and sustainability for the company.
Recalling our strategy and the premises on which our work and culture are based is useful as it brings them to mind in our day-to-day endeavours and helps us maintain a steady course.
2016 was once again a year where we were successful in achieving those goals. This report sets out the information required to confirm that we met targets in operations as well as in administrative and support areas.
It is important to remember that 2016 was not a year entirely free of difficulties with regard to planning and investment. These difficulties mainly centered on several important projects which did not go ahead due to lack of approval from public bodies.
We achieved a positive financial balance and the cost of our debt fell from 4.1% to 3.2%, reflecting our solidity and financial stability. Our rating also continues to be at investment grade at the three largest international agencies.
“In 2016 we achieved a positive financial balance.”
REN can be justifiably proud of the responsible and efficient manner in which concessions are managed. Unbiased corroboration can be found by comparing key indicators for our work with those of our European and international counterparts. For example, the results of the most recent ITOMS (International Transmission Operations and Maintenance Study), an independent benchmarking study on the operation and maintenance of electrical power transmission systems, places REN as one of the best Transmission System Operators (TSOs) in the world when it comes to "Costs vs. Performance”.
A further milestone was seen last year in the international investment we made. In line with the strategy defined in 2015, REN acquired a 42.5% stake in Electrogas, Chile. This company owns a natural gas (NG) pipeline connecting the terminal at the country's main port to Santiago do Chile, and supplies NG to several energy production plants as well as numerous residential areas of the capital. The investment was around 180 million USD will allow REN's asset base to continue to grow and provide stable and suitable earnings for our field of work until the end of the concession. This investment was also an excellent fit for the investment opportunities REN believes it should explore.
In 2016, we successfully repeated a range of initiatives we organize every year under the umbrella of our social responsibility programme. Highlights include another REN Award event, which for over 20 years has distinguished the best Masters' theses in energy at Portuguese universities and the Agir Award, which supports and promotes initiatives helping resolve social issues in communities all over Portugal. Defence of the principles set out in the United Nations Global Compact was also seen in 2016 through our ongoing commitment to this initiative.
When this message is read, we'll already be in the second quarter of 2017, and experiencing the responsibilities of wanting to continue to comply with our mission.
Our expectations for 2017 are in line with events of recent years.
Our work is technically complex and highly critical, and power generation systems are evolving towards ever greater incorporation of renewable sources. This in turn gives rise to new challenges in the management of the energy system. REN has always been at the forefront of renewable energy integration and we feel that we are well prepared to face the upcoming challenges. We will continue to invest in engineering with the aim of always being able to provide the best solutions in terms of planning, operations and safety.
We have a highly competent organization which is prepared to meet its responsibilities both today and in the future. We understand the evolution of our industry and are aware of the opportunities as well as the difficulties which will no doubt arise, without ever ceasing to maintain our level of exceptional quality at every level.
We are ready to provide the answer and a positive contribution both with regard to the challenges we will face in the national energy market and in relation to the international projects we are involved in, the Cahora Bassa dam in Mozambique and Electrogas in Chile.
I'd like to conclude by expressing my thanks to all those who work at REN, the public entities in the energy sector in Portugal, our partners and shareholders and our Board of Directors.
My very best thanks,
Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee