The set of results achieved in Q1 2018 in itself is compelling, with EBITDA growth exceeding 5% and net profit following an even more dynamic trend, at a rate close to 10%, around double the rate of EBITDA.
First-quarter results are compelling…
Strong cash flow generation allowed for further decrease in net debt, which at 31 March 2018 was 2.5x the EBITDA: a level providing us with significant flexibility for the future.
…but also very consistent with the 5-year growth path
These results are not the occasional fruit of favourable circumstances: they take place in the framework of a growth that is consistent and continuous over time, deriving from past choices on the exposure to different businesses and from the decisions taken in terms of capital allocation. In the last five years, in Q1, while EBITDA increased at an average compound rate of 4.1%, net profit grew by 9.7%.
First-quarter results play a role even from a forward-looking perspective
Looking to the future, we can state that the performance achieved in Q1 proves the effectiveness of our strategy, competitive strength, and – not less importantly – careful management’s execution of the Business Plan.
EBITDA growth is very healthy also because it enjoys the positive contribution from the different business areas in which we operate. While the performances in regulated sectors leveraged on technological innovation to extract new efficiencies and improve service quality, in liberalised businesses we could rely on our marketing capabilities and exploited the opportunities provided by the winter season in the gas business.
With solid premises, we can continue to provide attractive returns
A good starting point, therefore, which strengthens our belief to be on the right path to achieving the planned targets and continuing to offer attractive returns to our shareholders. Next June, moreover, they will be remunerated with a 2017 dividend per share of 9.5 euro cents – a distribution that is 5.5% higher than that of the previous fiscal year.