Q3 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/14/2012

Operator: Welcome to the RWE Conference Call. Dr. Bernhard Gunther, Member of the Board of RWE AG will inform you about the developments in the first three quarters of fiscal 2012. I will now hand over to Dr. Stephan Lowis.

Dr. Stephan Lowis - VP, IR: Thank you. Good afternoon to everyone who has joined us today via telephone or webcast for our nine months 2012 results presentation. I am joined here by Rolf Pohlig and Bernhard Gunther. It will be the last conference call for Rolf and as he has already handed over responsibility for controlling and accounting to Bernhard; Bernhard will present the results.

As in recent conference calls we have concentrated on the main aspects to keep the presentation short and leave as much time as possible for your questions. And with that I would like to handover to Bernhard. Bernhard?

Dr. Bernhard Gunther - Member of Executive Board: Thank you, Stephan and a warm welcome from me as well. As I have already participated in several analysts and investor meetings I guess there is no need to introduce myself again. In case there is one or two I haven't personally met so far, I hope to do so in the coming weeks and months.

It's a pleasure for me to provide you with the highlights of the first nine months of 2012. We have some good news to report on, although the environment overall remains challenging. First, with regard to the financial performance, the numbers speak for themselves. EBITDA and operating result improved by 8%, recurrent net income increased only slightly less with plus 6%.

We also have further positive news on our divestment program. On 25th of October the Berlin State Parliament approved on the buyback of our 25% stake in Berlinwasser. This was the last piece outstanding for closing the transaction on 30th of October. Total proceeds including interest on the purchase price amounted to approximately EUR660 million.

Also in October, we reached agreement on the sale of our 20% share in the Norwegian oilfield Edvard Grieg. Beside the cash purchase of approximately EUR250 million, we agreed upon contingent payments of up to EUR35 million based on achievement of certain operational milestones.

Further benefit is the reduction in required CapEx of approximately EUR650 million over the coming years, which gives us further headroom in our deleveraging program. Despite these disposal steps RWE has been so successful in the past that they still have attractive growth opportunities over the coming years.

Last, but not least, at the end of October together with E.ON we reached an agreement about the sale of our joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power to Hitachi. The purchase price of approximately EUR430 million for our 50% stake is a further support to our divestment program with no dilutive impact on our earnings. Nevertheless, we have quite often received a 'what if' correction in recent meetings with investors and analysts. What will happen to our deleveraging target if we are not seeing sufficient offers for our assets that are for a disposal? I will come to this in a minute.

Now, back to the current highlights of 2012; one of our major issues for RWE is how we will solve the outstanding price revisions of our long-term gas contracts. We are still in negotiation and arbitration with two suppliers with a combined contract volume of approximately 11 bcm per annum.

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