Verbund AG history, profile and corporate video
Verbund AG produces and distributes electricity. The company engages in the generation, trading and sale of electrical energy to power exchange buyers, traders, energy supply companies, and industrial companies, as well as households and commercial customers. It operates its business through three segments: Electricity, Grid, and Equity Interests and Services. The Electricity segment includes business activities related to construction, operation, and maintenance of hydrologic and thermal as well as solar and wind power plants. The Grid segment operates and maintains the Austrian grid area. The Equity Interests and Services segment includes the management and control functions related to foreign and domestic equity interests. Verbund was founded in 1947 and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.“
1947 saw the establishment of Verbund as “Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG” through the second nationalization act. In the post-war years, the company’s most urgent task was the planning, construction and operation of large power plants as well as the operation of the supraregional power grid. At the same time, special purpose vehicles (SPVs) were established to promote the construction of large hydropower and thermal power plants. The shares of the Republic of Austria in these special purpose vehicles were held by Verbund as a trustee. In 1955 it was once more possible to meet electricity requirements entirely using own domestic resources. However, as a result of the rapid economic growth, additional electricity had to be imported from 1965 on.
Initially, Verbund – pursuant to prevailing legal principles – was one hundred percent nationalized. In mid-1987, the second nationalization act was amended to the extent that Verbund could be partially privatized, as long as 51 percent remained in government hands. At the same time, Verbund acquired the shares of the Republic of Austria in the special purpose vehicles (Österreichische Donaukraftwerke AG, Österreichische Draukraftwerke AG, Tauernkraftwerke AG, Verbundkraft Elektrizitätswerke GmbH, Ennskraftwerke AG, Donaukraftwerk Jochenstein AG and Österreichisch-Bayerische Kraftwerke AG). In 1988, Verbund was partially deregulated by going public, at which point 49% of the shares were sold.
The most significant break in Verbund’s history occurred in 1995 – this was the year that Austria entered the European Union, which, one year later, launched the deregulation of the electricity market. In order to better prepare for this complete opening, Verbund concentrated on the core business of electricity and restructured the Group, a result of which was the fact that the activities were consolidated in a strategic holding company with the business divisions of generation, trade, transmission and equity interests. EU regulations required unbundling of generation and transmission of power as stipulated by company law. At the same time, the company promoted its international activities, beginning with Germany in 1999. Also, by 2003, more than half of the personnel had been let go without notice.
In the 1990s, Austria’s energy industry became the setting for a large number of mutual participating interests; thus, for example, the provincial energy providers TIWAG (Tyrol) and EVN (Lower Austria), as well as the Wiener Stadtwerke (including energy provider WienEnergie) increasingly acquired shares in Verbund. Currently these three companies, the majority share of each of which is also in public hands, own more than 25%. Verbund itself participated in EVN in form of a joint venture, however, discontinued this share package in 2003. Important participating interests in Austria today are KELAG-Kärntner Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft and STEWEAG-STEG GmbH.
In order to finance the restructuring and expansion of the Verbund Group, eight Austrian Danube power plants, among others, were leased in the period from 1997 to 2000 as part of a cross-border leasing agreement with a US financial company and leased back without property transfer. In 2009, the backtransaction of virtually all leasing transactions was decided and, for the major part, implemented that same year. In mid-2005, Verbund established the business division of Sales and became active in Austria’s end customer market selling electricity. Within but a few years, the company had advanced to the fifth largest end customer provider in Austria. In 2007, Verbund expanded its activities to include additional renewable energy sources and began to undertake large investments in especially wind power. In mid-2009, Verbund acquired a power plant chain on the Bavarian river Inn from energy company E.ON and, hence, advanced to fourth largest hydropower producer in Europe.”
*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org
**Video published on YouTube by “Verbund Strom“