28.7.2006: Meldung: Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona SA (Agbar): Halbjahreszahlen

26/07/2006 - The Agbar Group increases its profits by 55.1%, which amount to Euro 94.9 million during the first half of the year

Water, with a 44.2% increase in the operating result, and Health, with a 23% increase, are the two areas with a higher growth in the Group

The Agbar Group has experience an important increase in its figures during the first half of 2006. This increase is especially relevant for the benefits before tax, with a 63.3% increase, amounting to Euro 218.3 million (133.4 million during the first half of 2005); for the net benefits, with a 70.3% increase, amounting to Euro 170.1 million (Euro 99.9 million during the same period of 2005), and for the net benefits attributable to the parent, which increased 55.1%, amounting to Euro 94.9 million (Euro 61.2 million during the same period of 2005). Operating revenues amounted to Euro 1,582.4 million and surpassed, by 4.3%, those achieved during the firs half of 2005.

As well as the organic growth of the Group, the results have also been affected by the consolidated scope variations and Euro 72.1 million in atypical, non-recurrent results, whose amount is not applicable to the year as a whole. This section includes the reversion, for the amount of Euro 15,8 million, for provisions to cover maximum risk for Aguas Argentinas; the positive results, of Euro 9.5 million, for compensations for advanced cancellations in the Water section in Spain, and the capital gain generated by the sale of a part of Applus Servicios Tecnológicos to Unión Fenosa and Caja Madrid, as a part of the agreements between the partners.

As for the progress made by each sector, the increase in profits is centred on Water and Health. In the case of Water and wastewater, which includes the corporate holding, the operating revenues amount to Euro 669.2 million (+15.1%), and the operating result, to Euro 110.2 million (+44.2%). Water and wastewater has also relatively increased the results of the Agbar Group. Whereas for the first half of 2005 it represented a 38.3% of the total operating revenues and 56.8% of the operating results, now, it represents a 42.3% and 62.5%, respectively. The water sector has benefited from the increase of its activity and of better results on an international scale, due to the increase in tariffs in Chile, the appreciation of the Chilean peso and the change in the consolidation method in Inversiones Aguas Metropolitanas (IAM), a holding company of Aguas Andinas.

As for the Health sector, it is the second most important within the Group. Operating revenues reached Euro 540.4 million (+9.5%) and the operating results, reached Euro 36.8 million (+23%). In this sector, the improvement of results is due to the increase of the number of policyholders and the average premiums. The leading company, Adeslas, already has 2,353,815 policyholders in Spain, thus consolidating its leadership in this activity sector.

Inspection and Certification reached Euro 244.9 million in operating revenues (+17.4% compared to the first half of 2005) and Euro 27 million for operating results (+16.8%). This sector benefits from the incorporation in its accounts of two months of activity of the Group RTD, which was acquired during the first half of 2006.

The consolidated investments of the Group have also increased and, for the firs half of 2006 have reached Euro 592.6 million (Euro 189 million during the first half of 2005). This increase is mainly for the acquisitions of a 96% of the British Company Bristol Water Group (Euro 240.3 million) and 100% of the group RTD (Euro 174.3 million). These investments have meant an increase in indebtedness. The percentage on the net equity is 63%, whereas last year it was 39%, although the level of indebtedness over the net equity, plus net indebtedness, is 39%, whereas last year it was 28%.

Relevant Operations

Even though, for the time being, they have no impact on the accounts of the Group, it is worth mentioning the various corporate operations carried-out during the first half of the year. As well as the acquisitions of Bristol Water and RTD, the Agbar Group, together with other shareholders of Applus+ (Unión Fenosa and Caja Madrid), has reached a preliminary agreement for the British risk capital company Candover Partners Limited for the sale of 100% of Applus Servicios Tecnológicos, S.L., a leading company in the Inspection and Certification section of the Group. The total amount for this operation is of 915.5 million euros, and a control premium, benefiting Agbar, for Euro 100 million.

It is also relevant to point-out, for its importance, the granting, during July, of the tender for the construction and management of the desalination plant in the metropolitan area of Barcelona to the joint venture headed by Agbar, with the participation of Dragados, DRACE and Degrémont (Suez Group). The budget for this operation is Euro 150 million and it will be financed with cohesion funds from the European Union. This plant, with a capacity to produce 60 hm3 of water per year, will be one of the biggest in Europe and the first, for its size, of the facilities that deal with the supply of water for domestic uses.

The results achieved during the first half of the year and the purchase and sale operations reflect the concentration of the activities of the Group’s main sectors, Water and Health, and the entry of Agbar into new marketplaces, such as the British one, which is secure and regulated.
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