April 27 (Renewables Now) - Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft AS boosted its first-quarter net profit to NOK 10.28 billion (USD 1.29bn/EUR 1.06bn) from NOK 2.75 billion a year back, mainly thanks to divestments of offshore wind projects and the listing of its retail unit.
The company, which in December exited the offshore wind industry, registered NOK 5.11 billion in gains from the sale of its stake in the 402-MW Dudgeon wind farm in UK waters. Its total gains from selling offshore wind assets under the exit strategy amount to NOK 8.7 billion, Statkraft said on Thursday.
Apart from selling its 30% interest in the Dudgeon wind park off the coast of Norfolk, the Norwegian utility alsо offloaded a 40% stake in the 316.8-MW Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm in the UK and its shareholding in the 860-MW Triton Knoll wind project off eastern England.
“The exit from offshore wind provides a solid financial foundation for new renewable energy investments,” said CEO Christian Rynning-Tonnesen. Statkraft said it is currently updating its investment plans, a key priority in which is the development of Norwegian and Swedish hydropower assets. It also added it is pursuing new opportunities in Europe, South-America and India within the hydropower, wind and solar sectors.
Gains in the reporting period also included some NOK 1.67 billion from the listing of Statkraft’s retail subsidiary Fjordkraft in Oslo.
Driven by an increase in hydropower generation and higher power prices in the Nordic regions, first-quarter underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to NOK 5.96 billion from NOK 3.99 billion. Net operating revenues and other income came at NOK 8.88 billion, growing from NOK 6.97 billion a year before.
Statkraft's wind business, focusing on wind projects in the UK, Norway and Sweden, recorded net operating revenues of NOK 283 million, up from NOK 197 million a year ago, while underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) improved from NOK 71 million to NOK 172 million.
More details about the performance of Statkraft's wind power segment are given in the table:
|NOK million||Q1 2018||Q1 2017|
|Net operating revenues||283||197|
|EBIT (loss), underlying||80||(15)|
|Investments in new capacity||237||144|
|Production, volume sold (TWh)||0.5||0.7|
Wind power generation in the three months decreased by 24% to 0.6 TWh due to lower wind speeds in Sweden. Most of Statkraft's overall power production, amounting to 21 TWh, came from its hydropower operations with a record 19.9 TWh generated in the period.
(NOK 1.0 = USD 0.125/EUR 0.103)