Interview with Michael Sieber, CFO of CKW

Milestone for Uri's energy future

Author
IFBC Team
Date
30/11/2023

CKW and the public sector of Uri announced a significant transaction in June 2023. The Canton of Uri and the Uri Corporation now hold a 51% majority of shares in Elektrizitätswerk EWA-Energie Uri AG (EWA) and are thus fulfilling their political mandate — in connection with upcoming concession renewals — to further strengthen the cantonal energy strategy. The core element of the transaction: CKW is selling 52.3 percent of the shares of EWA-Energie Uri AG at a price of 180 million Swiss francs to a consortium of bidders consisting of the canton, the Uri corporation and two energy infrastructure funds managed by Swiss Life Asset Managers.

 

IFBC supported CKW as a financial advisor throughout the entire sales process. On the one hand, IFBC supported the valuation of EWA-Energie Uri AG and in determining the purchase price for CKW's EWA shares. On the other hand, IFBC CKW supported both contract negotiations as an M&A advisor. In this process, a balanced solution was achieved which harmonizes the interests of all stakeholders.

 

With the transaction, CKW is reducing its commitment to 10 percent and remains a strategic anchor shareholder. Michael Sieber, CFO of CKW, will provide exciting insights into the transaction and the energy future of Central Switzerland.

What were the reasons for selling EWA?

A successful transition to a sustainable energy supply with elements such as energy efficiency, expansion of renewable energies and decarbonization requires joint action by public authorities and energy supply companies. In view of upcoming concession renewals, the district administrator of Uri instructed the Government Council to acquire a majority in Elektrizitätswerk EWA. Against this background, CKW offered a solution that met this requirement. After lengthy negotiations, an agreement was reached in 2023.

 

What was IFBC's value proposition in this transaction?

One challenge in this transaction was to determine a fair market value for EWA to determine the purchase price. IFBC was able to contribute its extensive experience in the energy sector and was at the same time a highly competent partner for the company valuation, which was confirmed by an independent fairness opinion. IFBC also provided very professional and credible support throughout the sales process. This made it possible to achieve a balanced solution that took into account the interests of all stakeholders.

How does CKW contribute to this strategic partnership?

We are pleased to continue our 115-year partnership with EWA and the Canton of Uri. The CKW Group is a leading Swiss provider of integrated energy and building technology solutions. Together with the canton of Uri, we want to expand renewable energy and drive forward the energy revolution. A central project for the production of more urgently needed winter electricity is the dam elevation on Göscheneralp. Kraftwerk Göschenen AG (KWG), led by CKW in collaboration with experts from Axpo and SBB, has launched a preliminary project to examine in detail the technical, ecological, legal, political and economic aspects of raising the dam by 15 meters.

Where do you see the opportunities for the company?

CKW has a very broad base and enables its more than 200,000 customers to have a sustainable future through innovative energy solutions, even outside Central Switzerland. I see opportunities for CKW across Switzerland in innovative products and services in the areas of photovoltaics, e-mobility, heating technology and building automation, including ICT, which together and in an integrated way make an important contribution to the energy revolution. With around 250 employees in the solar sector, we are one of the largest installers of PV systems on roofs and facades in Switzerland. As a provider of integrated energy and building technology solutions, we employ around 2,000 people, including around 330 apprentices.

How do you rate progress in the energy transition in 2050?

Switzerland is not on track when it comes to expanding renewable energy sources. We need to get faster and expand all technologies. CKW is currently working on energy projects in the areas of wind power, hydropower, thermal power, solar energy and geothermal energy. We are the largest producer of renewable electricity in Central Switzerland. For a sustainable energy future, we are investing heavily in renewable electricity production.

Michael Sieber Is Dipl. Business economist HWV/FH and has a Master of Advanced Studies in Corporate Finance. Since 2020, he has been Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and member of the Executive Board of CKW. He was previously Head of Controlling Production & Networks and member of the Executive Board of Axpo Power AG from 2012-2019. From 2004-2012, he led the Finance & Controlling division of Axpo AG's Nuclear Energy Division. Before working as controller of North-East Switzerland Kraftwerke AG from 2002 to 2004, he was a member of the Executive Board and Head of Finance & Administration at Meier+Co. AG (1997—2002).

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