The new business plan provides for increased investments, leading to a total of around € 3.3 billion.
Two thirds of the investments planned, or € 2 billion, are aimed at regulated sectors, to strengthen, modernise and digitalise network services, with a particular focus on the depuration plants in the Liguria area, on electronic gas, water and electricity meters, network resilience, loss reduction and finally on increasing technical quality.
The remaining third, or € 1.3 billion, are development investments intended to support Group growth and mainly involve the waste management sector through the development of sorting and treatment plants, extending district heating networks, gas tenders for minimum territorial areas and smart solution and digitalisation projects.
In terms of sustainability, around € 2 billion is aimed at projects which serve to reach the commitments made with regards to the SDGs set by the United Nations. The focus is mainly on four areas: use of water resources, the circular economy, decarbonisation and resilient cities.
Over € 350 million are destined for digitalisation projects for all company areas, with the goal of increasing efficiency and streamlining the entire organisation, providing high value added services to customers and citizens.
The average annual amount provided for in the investment plan is around € 550 million, slightly higher during the first three years due to the effect of gas tenders, the creation of environmental plans and digital development projects. The modular nature of the investments being developed will allow the Group to take advantage of possible market opportunities, adjusting the schedule of planned investments when necessary.
The investment plan provides for almost € 1.4 billion to increase the efficiency and quality of services, with significant growth in RAB of € 2.9 billion in 2024. 56% of investments aimed at networks are focussed on integrated water services, to improve efficiency thanks to investments in depuration plants, the use of smart meters and the enhancement, districting and permanent monitoring of the network, with consequent decreases in water loss.
The 2019-2024 business plan provides for the awarding of tenders in all the areas in which Iren is the incumbent.
The single integrated business vision, combined with more in-depth implementation of the system of assets and workforce management will offer additional synergies over the period of the Plan.
The investments and synergies planned will make it possible to achieve EBITDA of € 451 million in 2024.
The circular economy continues to be the guiding star for the environmental sector which, through development of new treatment plants (plastic, paper, organic and wood) aims to increase waste treated in owned plants by 60% to 2.4 million tonnes, against an increase in waste managed of 3 million tonnes by the end of the plan. Self-sufficiency in closing the waste cycle will occur, not only thanks to taking advantage of waste as a material for generating biomethane and secondary fossil fuels, but also through connecting all waste-to-energy plants to district heating networks. Finally, development of a more efficient collection system will make it possible to offer better quality services to the public, reducing associated environmental impact and supporting Iren's commitment to increase recycling (over 70% in 2024).
Another Group objective is to maintain the concessions it currently holds and which will be up for tender by 2020. In addition, possible optional strategic transactions are currently being assessed, not currently part of the Plan.
The investments, necessary to achieve EBITDA of € 199 million by 2024 (€ +50 million with respect to 2018), amount to € 581 million.
ENERGY (GENERATION, DISTRICT HEATING AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY)
The medium-term energy situation will be characterised by, in terms of demand, modest growth in electricity consumption in Italy, due to the combined effects of climate change and electrification and, in terms of supply, continuation of the energy transition with renewables playing a greater role, with a growing need for flexibility and adaptability on the part of thermal power generation.
Margins envisaged for the energy area will allow to achieve EBITDA of € 261 million by the end of the plan.
Investments planned, totalling € 758 million, are mainly intended to increase the flexibility of plants, to develop thermal and electric storage systems and further strengthen the leadership role in the district heating sector, exceeding 100 million cubic metres of volume heated in this way by 2021.
Growth is also expected in the energy efficiency segment, with Iren Smart Solution achieving EBITDA of around € 10 million by 2024.
Iren's commitment to full digitalisation of processes, entering the digital payment world, fully developing the IrenGo offer and increasing NewDownstream products and services has the end goal of further growing the customer base, reaching 2.25 million customers by 2024.
The focus on customers/citizens is made concrete through a multi-channel and multi-business approach with ever more customised offerings, tailored to the customer's actual needs, a focus on the customer experience and a significant push towards innovation and digitalisation through new projects such as PSD2. Digital instruments will also enable the Group to develop sales even outside of its reference areas.
This approach, supported by € 268 million investments and by hedging actions that will make it possible to overcome the effects of volatility in the coming years, will enable to achieve EBITDA of € 156 million.