Multi-utility market leaders we are the foremost Italian operator in the water services sector and one of the main national operators in waste management, and in the distribution and sale of electricity. We have also recently entered the gas distribution sector.
A widely regulated business. We are the Italian multi-utility with the highest percentage of regulated business: approximately 77% of our 2018 EBITDA came from the regulated sector and we aim to maintain similar values throughout the time frame of the 2019-2022 business plan. Acea is therefore a low-risk company.
Ample growth prospects. We are the only benchmark multi-utility operator in the centre-south of Italy. Our territorial location allows us to rely on a unique pool of growth opportunities, in terms of both number of residents and local development needs.
An industrial company that focusses on infrastructural investments. The 2018-2022 plan and its 2019-2022 update place a firm emphasis on our industrial, paying close attention to infrastructures and technological innovation also with a view to developing the territories in which we operate. We expect to invest 4 billion Euro during the plan time frame, of which 77% in the regulated business. 500 million Euro will go towards innovative industrial projects.
Integration of business strategies and sustainability. Acea is intrinsically sustainable because it develops services that are essential to the lives of local residents. The new version of our strategic plan looks to 2022, having raised our targets on the basis of the favourable results achieved in 2018, and now forecasts investments totalling 1.7 billion Euro in sustainability throughout the plan time frame, 400 million more than the amount originally envisaged. Our sustainability governance goals include the introduction into performance management systems of objectives focussed on promoting impacts on sustainability and the optimisation of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) elements in relations with our shareholders and investors.
Dividends on the up: Our 2018-2022 business plan provides for an increase in dividends, with pay-outs always exceeding 50%. We have set more ambitious targets in the 2019-2022 plan and now expect to distribute 800 million Euro during its time frame, 100 million more than the previous version, with a minimum 2019 dividend of 0.75 Euro per share.
Cost-of-debt reduction policy. As at 31 December 2018, 79% of all debt carries a fixed rate. The average duration of medium/long-term debt at 31 December 2018 is 5.8 years. The average cost of debt has gone from 2.59% as at 31 December 2017 to 2.21% as at 31 December 2018.
Data as at 31 December 2018