Industries – Energy New

ENERGY

The energy industry is undergoing a change. The traditional business model of most energy suppliers has been severely affected by the tightened market conditions, changes in the regulatory framework and the technological progress. The transformation of the sector is observable in various financial aspects and in particular in the increased transaction activities.

YOUR CONTACT PERSON

Markus Varga
Partner
markus.varga@ifbc.ch

CURRENT TOPICS & CHALLENGES

Innovation and digitization

Energy supply is becoming increasingly decentralized and complex. Energy supply companies are meeting these challenges by driving innovation through digitization. The primary aim of digitization efforts is to establish fast, efficient, and automated processes. The energy sector is intensively addressing the topics of Internet of Things, breaking down industry boundaries and increasing innovation through cultural change. An example of this is the founding of Evolution AG by 6 utility companies.

Lack of investment opportunities

The investment priorities of energy supply companies and the targeted decarbonization lead to a concentrated demand for renewable energy projects. This situation is intensified by the lively investment activities of financial investors. Due to the limited investment opportunities and the small number of attractive projects, domestic prices are rising sharply. Accordingly, a large amount of funds continues to flow into investment projects abroad.

Regulation Radar

With the amendment of the Electricity Supply Act, the Federal Council wants to open the electricity market for all customers and, by revising the Energy Act, further improve the investment incentives for renewable energies and secure the supply of electricity. The federal government is currently developing a long-term climate strategy to achieve the climate target for 2050 (net emission reduction to zero), which should also consider the role of negative emission technologies. The gas sector is to receive legal regulation in the Gas Supply Act, which provides for partial market opening.

NOTABLE RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Squeeze-out merger at Alpiq Holding

In June 2020, the three majority shareholders Schweizerische Kraftwerkbeteiligungs-AG, EOS Holding SA and the consortium of Swiss minority shareholders achieved a 90.41% stake in Alpiq Holding AG. Thus, the conditions for a squeeze-out merger were fulfilled and the merger was successfully completed after approval by the Annual General Meeting. Two shareholders have each filed compensation review proceedings against the squeeze-out merger.

BKW acquires Sigren Engineering

Confirming the trend towards innovation and digitization, in October 2020 BKW acquired Sigren Engineering AG, based in Winterthur. Sigren Engineering is a leading actor in the growth areas of smart buildings and smart infrastructure. Through the acquisition, BKW Building Solutions strengthens its expertise in the automation of buildings and infrastructure.

ewz takes over wind farm from Eolus

In August 2020, ewz took over the Stigafjellet wind farm built in Norway by the Swedish energy company Eolus Vind. With a total capacity of 30 megawatts, the wind farm achieves an annual production of 117 GWh of electricity, enabling ewz to increase its production from wind power by 20%.

M&A TRENDS AND MARKET ANALYSIS

EV/EBITDA multiples of European energy suppliers

Median
75%-Quartil
25%-Quartil

  • The EBITDA multiple shown is based on the Enterprise Value (EV) at the respective point in time and the EBITDA adjusted for extraordinary events of the last 12 months.
  • The valuation level of European energy suppliers has decreased in 2020. As of mid-2020, these companies showed an average multiple of about 5.9x.
  • In this context, the difference between the 25% and 75% quartile has widened.

EV/EBITDA multiples of renewable energy suppliers in Europe

Median
75%-Quartil
25%-Quartil

  • The average EV/EBITDA multiple of European renewable energy suppliers has risen since the end of 2018.
  • The valuation level of renewable energy suppliers, which is around 13.5x, is still significantly higher than the level of conventional energy suppliers, which are valued at around 5.9x EBITDA (see graph above).

EV/EBITDA multiples and Market to Book Ratio of Swiss energy suppliers

Median EV/EBITDA
Market to Book

  • The three listed Swiss energy suppliers show an average EV/EBITDA multiple of 8.0x in mid-2020, a valuation level above that of European energy suppliers.
  • The market/book ratio of Swiss energy suppliers shows an upward trend.

Source: Bloomberg.