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Q2 2022 Elmera Group ASA Earnings Call Aug 18, 2022 (Thomson StreetEvents) — Edited Transcript of Elmera Group ASA earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 6:00:00am GMT TEXT version of Transcript ================================================================================ Corporate Participants ================================================================================ * Morten A. W. Opdal Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR * Roger Finnanger Elmera Group ASA – Executive VP & Head of Business * Rolf Barmen Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO ================================================================================ Presentation ——————————————————————————– Rolf Barmen, Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO [1] ——————————————————————————– Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our digital second quarter presentation. My name is Rolf Barmen, and I am the CEO of Elmera Group. Please let’s go to Page 2. With me today, I have Morten Opdal, Head of Investor Relations and Acting CFO until Henning Nordgulen is in place the 1st of November; and Roger Finnanger, Head of Business. At the end of our presentation, Roger will give you an update on how our new metrics organization works and give you some highlights on ongoing projects in the business segments. After Roger has finished, Morten will, as usual, conduct a Q&A session. Please submit your questions during the presentation as there is one-minute time lag on broadcast. But first, I will start by repeating some facts about our business units and elaborate a bit on where the BUs belongs with regard to our reporting segments. Our new CEO of Fjordkraft is in place. (inaudible), the largest end-user company in Norway within our sector, having business lines in both the Consumer segment and the Business segment. The same applies for TrøndelagKraft and Gudbrandsdal Energi. TrøndelagKraft is the market leader in Trøndelag and a local brand for mid-Norway region. Gudbrandsdal Energi is the national fighting brand, award-winning for best customer satisfaction 10 years in a row with its own administration on Vinstra in Gudbrandsdalen. Roger Finnanger, Head of Business, is responsible for B2B activities across all these brands as well as in Nordic Green Energy. All revenues from Nordic Green Energy are consolidated in the Nordics segment. And NGE has operations in Finland and Sweden, offices in Vaasa and Stockholm. Betalservice offers payment solutions to companies in the group and, in the future, also outside the group. Revenues from the company is consolidated in the Consumer segment. The New Growth Initiatives segment consists of business lines from several business units: KraftAlliansen, that should probably (inaudible), our alliance concept, serving small- and middle-sized energy companies with services like power purchasing, application and marketing campaigns; AllRate offering billing and rating services to end-user companies as well as grid companies; and Fjordkraft Mobil and Gudbrandsdal Mobil offering mobile services to electricity customers. Our solar panel and EV charging offerings are also booked in this segment. And finally, Metzum, our software company, offering billing systems to the energy sector. It’s a joint venture, 40% ownership on our hand. And this is not distributed to any of our reporting segments. So that was a brief introduction on where our business units belong with regards to business segment and a brief overlook of their activities. Let’s go to Page 3. Some highlights from the second quarter. The financial results in this quarter are solid despite low consumption volumes in the quarter, particularly in the Consumer segment. Group net revenue amounted to NOK 403 million in the quarter, a 4% year-on-year increase, while EBIT adjusted amounted to NOK 123 million, 13% down from last year. The organic customer development in the Consumer segment has made a significant positive shift in trend. And the Business segment continues its growth, both in terms of profitability and electricity deliveries. The Nordics segment’s strategic customer portfolio is stable, while low revenue tender customers represent change in deliveries from last quarter. Financially, this segment is negatively affected by peak of big price differences. Finally, as a highlight, we implemented a new organizational model in the quarter. And Roger will, as announced, give you an update from his new responsibilities in the B2B segment. So please go to Page 4. When it comes to the market development in the quarter, elspot prices have been both very high but also very volatile due to limitations in transmission capacity, the area of price differences between the various regions continue to be significant. Peak and off-peak prices in Finland and Sweden have been particularly high in June, which negatively affected the Nordic segment’s result in the quarter. The price level, in combination with a warm June, has ultimately led to consumption savings, particularly in the Consumer segment, where volume sold was down 33% (sic) [23%] year-on-year. Page 5 summarizes the customer development and volume sold in the last quarters. So we are on Page 5. As already mentioned, the Consumer segment shows a stable development from last quarter, a significant improvement from the recent trend. Volume per delivery decreased by 15% in the quarter, and total volume was 1.6 terawatt hour. In the Business segment, the volume decreased by 7% per delivery. But volume sold is fairly stable from second quarter last year. In the Nordic segment, the change in number of customers is related to lower revenue [turning] customers, as stated, while the strategic customer base is stable. Volume decreased by 5% per delivery in the quarter. Please go to Page 6. In New Growth Initiatives, we also experienced a decrease in volumes, 14% down year-on-year, driven by the temperature and price level. Number of Extended Alliance deliveries increased slightly in the quarter, while number of mobile subscribers decreased by 5,000 due to the previous quarter’s customer decrease in the Consumer segment. When it comes to our efforts within solar panels, Roger will tell you more about this in his part of the presentation. Page 7, please. Some updates on regulatory and political issues. There is no doubt that geopolitical issues, in combination with the hydrological situation in Norway, affect both local regulatory as well as political activities and decisions. The energy supply in Europe is completely disturbed, leading to extreme prices and extreme volatile, extreme peak of big prices, in turn, affecting our costs related to power purchase significantly. Potentially — potential opening of gas pipelines to Europe and interconnection between Finland and Russia will, however, normalize the situation. The hydrological situation also puts pressure on the politicians as well as regulator to make decisions regarding limiting daily production volumes as well as limit export in order to secure water resources through the winter. But the rainy season is about to start, so heavy rainfall in the next couple of months will, of course, affect the position positively. Some other relevant political and regulatory issues. Going first in Norway, we see that in line with our proposals, the focus now is on expanding the power support scheme to households. The government will also propose some support also to the Business segment, but this will not take place before September/October. Furthermore, the government has proposed a change in exception rules for producers in order to pave the way for players like us to improve fixed price contracts for households and small businesses. Some work is left to finalize the arrangement. The intention is to have offering ready before the winter season begins. All in all, our concern about governmental intervention in the market that will impact our business negatively is reduced. In Finland, the prices have spiked after Russian cut of electricity export. This was accelerated by yet another delay of the nuclear power plant Olkiluoto 3 as the Finnish government has proposed a reduction in sales tax to ease the economic burden for the customers. In Sweden, there is a support scheme in place similar to the original in Norway, although not that extensive. The focus in Sweden is to increase renewable production fast, and there is also a growing support for extending the lifetime of existing nuclear power plant and even building new ones. Going to Page 8. Before I give the floor to Morten, I would spend some extra time on our product management in the Consumer segment and on one product, in particular, spot with risk management, which has been a big success for both the customers and ourselves. So let’s go to Page 9. Spot with risk management is a contract which combines spot price exposure with risk management, similar to many of our value propositions in the Business segment. We started selling this in the Consumer segment not too long ago. And lately, we have experienced solid growth of this product. Currently, we have around 20,000 customers, and the portfolio is growing rapidly. Our power traders enter into strategic positions in order to optimize the customers’ electricity cost, and the results have been very strong as you can see from the table to the top right, which shows the customer savings, in Norwegian sense, per kilowatt hour ore in the various months in 2022. This contract type represents a higher revenue potential for us compared to standard spot contract. And as you can see from the green bar in the chart to the left, it has left the customers with significant savings on their energy bill historically. We believe that value proposition like these will be important in time ahead and look forward to introducing more cost-savings products and offerings going forward. Now, Morten will run through the financials. The floor is yours. ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [2] ——————————————————————————– Thank you, Rolf. Let’s start at Page 11 and then a look at the group’s adjusted net revenue and EBIT. Net revenue adjusted increased by 4% year-on-year, driven by the Business and the NGI segments, and equals NOK 403 million in the quarter. Margins have been strong despite the volume decrease following higher prices end of — by end of June. On the right-hand side, you can see the group’s EBIT adjusted, which decreased 13% year-on-year to NOK 123 million. Increased sales and marketing costs are the main driver, but we also have an effect from increased provisions for losses in the quarter. These provisions are done in caution due to the high elspot price level and are not actual incurred losses. We monitor our customer portfolio very closely and have historically experienced very low losses. EBIT-adjusted margin, the last 12 months, was 30% at the end of the quarter. If you go to next page, Page #12, and move on to the segments. The Consumer segment is replicating the net revenue performance from second quarter 2021 despite a 23% decrease in volume year-on-year. There were significant positive effects from hedging in the quarter and otherwise strong margins. EBIT adjusted was NOK 66 million in the quarter, and as mentioned, for the group, the decrease was mainly due to increased sales and marketing costs and also the increased loss provisions. The Business segment shows a growth in adjusted net revenue from NOK 97 million in the second quarter last year to NOK 111 million this quarter. Product margins, especially from risk management products, improved versus last year, and volume sold was fairly stable despite a 7% decrease in volume per delivery. EBIT adjusted increased by NOK 4 million from second quarter last year. Next page, Page 13. When it comes to the Nordic segment, there has been no under-hedging in the quarter like we experienced in Q4 2021, but the peak of big price differences continue to affect the segment’s profitability in a negative way, especially so in June, when peak/off-peak price differences were the highest. In the New Growth Initiatives, we increased net revenue by NOK 10 million from second quarter last year, and the main driver for the growth is the mobile business. EBIT adjusted increased by NOK 6 million year-on-year and was positive by NOK 2 million in the quarter. Next page, Page 14. Net working capital was NOK 615 million at quarter end. The elspot price level is the main driver for the increase from second quarter last year. When it comes to the first quarter 2022, net working capital was lower than normal due to the February power purchase, which was paid for in April, and this has inflated the accounts payables. On the right-hand side, you can see the net cash development. We started the quarter with a net cash position of NOK 117 million and ended with a net debt of NOK 1.5 billion. The main drivers are the quarter-over-quarter increase in net working capital and the dividend payment and share buyback program. Cash EBIT adjusted in the quarter was NOK 118 million and is in line with the EBIT adjusted of NOK 123 million. Next page, Page #15. As Rolf elaborated on, as part of the presentation, the situation in the power market is extraordinary at the moment. Our ambition, however, is still to deliver on those targets as presented on Capital Markets Day in April. Okay. That concludes my part of the presentation. Let’s turn to Page 16 and let Roger give you an update on the Business segment before we move over to the Q&A. Thank you. ——————————————————————————– Roger Finnanger, Elmera Group ASA – Executive VP & Head of Business [3] ——————————————————————————– Thank you, Morten. Hi, everyone, my name is Roger. In the following slides, I will give you an update on the Business segment’s development since the Capital Markets Day. We had a successful journey in developing the Business segment in Norway over the last years. We believe our experience will enable further growth with multiple brands and Nordic potential. I’m also responsible for our new energy solutions, and I will give you an update on how we succeed in sales of solar. So let me start with Page 17. We have developed the Business segment in Fjordkraft with a strong focus on our core products and value-adding services, products and services that gives our customers the possibility to take control on energy costs and energy consumption. Success in product management had made this — has made it possible to build the largest distribution in the Norwegian market. And now we are ready to bring our success to all our end user companies. Now a Nordic organization in place, and my management team will be focusing on product management and customer growth. As presented on the Capital Markets Day, we decided to organize the Business segment in a matrix. We will launch the risk mitigating power agreements in all brands and strengthening our sales and distribution in all brands and organize with further growth with products that strengthen both customer satisfaction and our profitability. We will strengthen our digital reporting services, and we launched a new digital ecosystem. We succeed in sales of solar, and we will strengthen our capacity even more. Please go to Page 18. First, a recap on our risk mitigating services. High prices in the market increases the customers’ need for our risk-mitigating services. As you can see to the left, we have the opportunity to combine several tools to meet every customer’s need to handle the risk associated with purchasing electricity. Our offering is based on back-to-back trading that reduces our risk exposure, with customers fully on their positions. In second quarter, 72% of our volume is delivered with risk management in Fjordkraft AS. And we expect this to increase further. Customers that have electricity plans, including risk management, show higher satisfaction and loyalty. Focusing on such products is important to increase both customer satisfaction and our profitability. So far this year, our customers have saved more than NOK 650 million from products, including risk management. The small- and medium-sized customers offer several standardized products designed to meet the customers’ different needs. For our large customers and public entities, we are offering tailored solutions designed to meet their unique needs. Our most successful strategy and recommendation is products combining index trading 1 to 2 years ahead, combined with a real price hedging illustrated in the upper right. This minimizes the risk of bad trades. The customer gets their electricity, prices equalize from month to month, and they are able to manage their cost budgets. Our experience is that index trading, combined with other risk-mitigating services, gives the best results for the customer, and it gives lower electricity costs in the long run. Our product management team will serve all our brands with our fine menu of risk mitigating services. Okay. Let’s move to Page 19. We have achieved strong organic growth so far this year. High prices and uncertainty related to future prices makes our risk management products attractive. In the Norwegian B2B market, we had more than 6% customer growth year-over-year. And the share of customers choosing risk management products have increased to 72%, up from 64%. The share of customers choosing spot with risk management increases. And we observed that the customer sees risk mitigation for a longer period. We target the share to exceed 75% in the end of this year. In our new organization, we are strengthening our management in Fjordkraft AS. Kent Olav Kvamme will be leading the commercial activities in the B2B market. Kent Olav is the former CEO of AllRate, one of the group’s subsidiaries. This group will focus on further customer growth, launch of value-adding services in our digital ecosystem and cost leadership. Let’s move to Page 20. In 2020, we launched Soleklart, our solar energy concept. We experienced high loyalty from customers that choose solar installations, and we observed that our extended solar services attracts new customers, with a fine menu of value-adding services, offer green loans to small- and medium-sized customers. Our large customers, we offer power purchase agreements, both for live monitoring on consumption and production. We also offer a unique solar account, virtual battery that makes it possible for the customer to save overproduction. As presented at the Capital Markets Day, we experienced attraction in the market, and we are taking actions to increase our capacity. We have launched new websites with online calculation, and we have improved our sales solutions. We have established an expert team with 7 advisers, and we will continue to improve our sales. And we are in progress of doubling our sales capacity. Now Page 21. Our new organization is taking place. These will be our key actions going forward. We are starting up telemarketing in Gudbrandsdal Energi next week. We will launch risk management products in the third quarter. We will launch risk management products in Nordic Green Energy in the end of this year and will further strengthen our distribution. If you recall, we launched our digital ecosystem, including the live data monitoring in the end of this year. Within solar, we will strengthen our investment and double our sales capacity. Thank you. ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [4] ——————————————————————————– Thank you, Roger. And now we are moving over to the Q&A session. ================================================================================ Questions and Answers ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [1] ——————————————————————————– We can start with a question on M&A for you, Rolf, which is the following. Do Elmera have any plans to pursue any M&A activity during the coming quarters? If so, what they are looking for in these targets? ——————————————————————————– Rolf Barmen, Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO [2] ——————————————————————————– We are continuing our search for interesting M&A targets. No doubt about that. We are particularly looking in Sweden and in Norway. In Sweden, we are looking to — we are looking on clients that have particularly the same product management philosophy that we have with — by the same offerings. That’s important to us, of course, due to fixed price issues that we have there from Finland. So it is important for us that — as we are looking into — has a project management and offerings that are quite similar to the ones we have here in Norway. And those players exist. And in Norway, we certainly believe that some of our competitors will struggle a bit now — might struggle a bit, so we think that it will open up also interesting targets here in Norway. ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [3] ——————————————————————————– Good. Another question is regarding consumer margins, both in Q2 and Q3. What was the impact on hedging in Q2? And how has the consumer margin been so far in Q3? We stated on the presentation that the impact from hedging was significant. So I can just repeat that message. When it comes to the margins in the third quarter, that’s something that we cannot comment on at the current moment. A couple of questions on organic growth and how the development has been in Q3, if you want to comment on that, Rolf. ——————————————————————————– Rolf Barmen, Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO [4] ——————————————————————————– Yes, it was obviously a very positive trend in the second quarter, particularly then in the Consumer segment. We have had a nice development in the Business segment all the time. So my common sense is, of course, in the Consumer segment, we don’t see any negative trends despite the high prices, actually. So we are quite happy with the situation as we speak, yes. So I think it will be a flat development in the third quarter. ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [5] ——————————————————————————– Good. A question on the Business segment, which maybe you can comment on, Roger. How do we see the impact on Business performance if a potential government electricity support scheme is put in place? And also the second part of the question, if we can comment on how we monitor the credit risk in the segment. ——————————————————————————– Roger Finnanger, Elmera Group ASA – Executive VP & Head of Business [6] ——————————————————————————– Okay. The first part first. The government support schemes, I think take down both risk for our company and our customers, and it will be a double effect with the risk management products we are selling. So from our point of view, we do have to focus on the risk management products, and government scheme is a bonus. And when it comes to the second part of the question, it’s more important for us to win the right customers. We have taken some specific segments of the business — of the companies from our prospecting activities, and we are targeting — more strictly, we are rating all new customers, and we have routine rating for all of our existing customers. But of course, we are stopping more deliveries now than we did from 1 year ago. So we have to win more of the good customers in the future. ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [7] ——————————————————————————– Okay. A question on the net working capital, how we expect this to develop for the rest of the year. I can make some comments on that. Very difficult to predict how the power market price level is going to evolve, which is, of course, the main driver for this. Other than that, net working capital typically has a seasonal pattern, which is connected with volume. But yes, it’s very difficult to predict at the current moment also understandable by what Rolf said in his part of the presentation. Yes, a question on customer growth. How was the trend exiting the quarter regarding deliveries growth? ——————————————————————————– Rolf Barmen, Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO [8] ——————————————————————————– (inaudible) ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [9] ——————————————————————————– Question on what you spoke about Rolf, the spot and risk management products. Do we expect competitors to follow you and soon offer the same product? ——————————————————————————– Rolf Barmen, Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO [10] ——————————————————————————– So some of our competitors would probably look into this kind of offerings, obviously. So — but it takes time to establish. But I’m quite sure that at one moment in time, down the road, there will be competitors offering the same products. ——————————————————————————– Morten A. W. Opdal, Elmera Group ASA – Acting CFO and Head of Controlling & IR [11] ——————————————————————————– Okay. That concludes the Q&A session. So we’d like to thank you for your attention and wish you all a nice day. ——————————————————————————– Rolf Barmen, Elmera Group ASA – President & CEO [12] ——————————————————————————– Bye.

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