Economic-financial and business objectives

We will allocate 500 million Euro to innovative projects and intend to strengthen our position in all sectors of operation (water, electricity, commercial and trading, environment). We also forecast an increase in EBITDA, an upturn in the value from the RAB and higher dividends.

A more ambitious plan

The results for 2018 reflected the achievement, well ahead of schedule, of the targets set by the business plan presented to the financial community in November 2017. The significant increase in the economic-financial results and the major improvement in the quality of services offered to customers have allowed us to present a substantial update to the plan, with even more challenging objectives for 2022.

The economic-financial objectives indicated in the business plan

Structural investments: 4 billion Euro are anticipated by end 2022 (as compared with 3.1 billion Euro announced in November 2017), of which 77% will be allocated to the regulated sector. Of total capex, 500 million Euro will go towards technological innovation projects, while the amount of 1.7 billion Euro is connected with sustainability objectives.

EBITDA: the implementation of these investments will support the growth in EBITDA, which will reach 1.1 billion Euro in 2020 and 1.3 billion by the end of the plan, with an average annual growth of 8%. The growth in EBITDA is mainly driven by:

  • organic growth for 250 million Euro
  • M&A plans for approximately 70 million Euro
  • operating efficiency interventions, with cost savings of almost 50 million Euro.

RAB: the RAB (Regulatory Asset Base) will increase by 28% to reach 4.8 billion Euro by the end of the plan.

Dividends: 800 million Euro will be available for distribution during the plan period. The 2019 dividend amounts to 0.78 Euro per share, compared to an anticipated minimum of 0.75 Euro, and a further increase is expected during the plan’s time frame.

Debt: the net financial position (NFP) to EBITDA ratio is expected to be 2.9x at the end of the plan.

Diagram of rise in the EBITDA of the Acea Group
Diagram of the ratio between the net financial position and the EBITDA of the Acea Group
Diagram of rise in the RAB of the Acea Group

Objectives by business area

Water sector

We are the leading Italian operator in the water sector and, in 2019, this business accounted for 48% of our EBITDA. In this area, we expect to reach EBITDA of 588 million Euro in 2022, with a 2018-2022 CAGR of 8%. We will invest 1.9 billion Euro during the plan time frame (300 million Euro more than was envisaged by the previous version of the plan) to support sector development and reduce the infrastructural and plant gap in the territories where we operate, focussing on the resilience of infrastructures and expansion of the sewage treatment plants. We intend to continue protecting the water resource by improving the quality and efficiency of the service offered in our territories of operation through key interventions, such as:

  • installation of more than 500,000 smart water meters
  • reduction in network leaks
  • rationalisation of 35 small sewage treatment plants
  • division of the water network into districts
  • improvement of technical quality indicators
  • securing of water procurement, in particular with the doubling of Peschiera
  • full consolidation of the Campania-based company Gori, with effect from November 2018.

In 2019:

  • We completed the procedure for renewal of the Peschiera-Le Capore aqueduct concession, which will expire in September 2031
  • We fully consolidated the Fiora Aqueduct (over 402,000 customers served)
  • We signed an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in the company Alto Sangro Distribuzione Gas
Diagram of rise in the EBITDA in the water sector of the Acea Group
Diagram of the investments in the water sector of the Acea Group envisaged by the industrial plan

Energy infrastructures

We are amongst the top operators for energy distribution in Italy, with around 10 billion KWh of electricity distributed in 2018. In this area (which accounted for 37% of our EBITDA in 2019), we intend to reach 440 million Euro in EBITDA by the end of the plan, with a 2018-2022 CAGR of 5.1%. We will allocate 1.5 billion Euro to investments, in particular to improve the resilience of the infrastructures, allowing for a greater electrification of the system, which will constitute the enabling factor for the development of new value-added services within the scope of “smart city” initiatives. This industrial path, in keeping with the 2017 National Energy Strategy and the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC), is oriented towards an increasing decarbonisation of the energy system.

Main actions:

  • technological evolution of the network with the progressive installation of 600,000 second generation smart meters
  • increased investments in network resilience
  • laying of more than 600 km of optical fibre to service the infrastructure
  • advanced automation of the network, in particular with the extension of remote control over 60% of secondary LV/MV sub-stations
  • reconstruction and expansion interventions involving over 2,500 km of the LV/MV network.

Furthermore, with regard to green energy production, we intend to strengthen our position by developing a portfolio of at least 150 MW in photovoltaic power, through the implementation of new plants and acquisitions on the secondary market.

In 2019:

  • We acquired photovoltaic plants with an overall installed power of around 25 MWp
Diagram of the EBITDA in the energy sector of the Acea Group
Diagram of the investments of the Acea Group in the energy infrastructure

Commercial and trading

We are one of the key national players in the sale of natural gas and electricity. In the commercial and trading area, we aim to generate EBITDA of 89 million Euro in 2020 and 154 million Euro in 2022, via investments totalling 181 million Euro. We expect to expand our portfolio of customers to 1.7 million in 2022, with an increase of around 30% compared to the current 1.3 million. We will mainly be focussing on:

  • a greater marketing drive on digital channels and cross-selling;
  • the optimisation of operating processes, with a consequent 20% reduction in the "Cost To Serve” and 15% in the “Cost To Credit” with respect to the 2018 situation
  • additional value will be generated by the development of smart services (for example, smart meters, insurance, domestic heating systems).

The commercial context, which will become increasingly competitive and challenging following finalisation of the enhanced protection regime on the electricity market starting from 1 January 2022, will offer Acea an opportunity for growth. We in fact intend to play a leading role in the consolidation process that will open up following the complete liberalisation of the sector.

In 2019:

  • We concluded with ERG two Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for the sale of renewable energy totalling 1.5 TWh during the period 2020-2022
Diagram of the EBITDA in the sales and trading sectors of the Acea Group
Diagram of the investments in the sales and trading sectors of the Acea Group


We have been involved in the Waste Management business for more than 10 years now, in particular as regards disposal and waste-to-energy. We are one of the leading Italian players in this sector and the benchmark operator for central Italy. By the end of the plan period, we expect to reach EBITDA of 76 million Euro, with a 2018-2022 CAGR of 3.9%, supported by a 300 million Euro investment plan. The results will reflect the end of the CIP6 incentives for the San Vittore plant, offset by the new initiatives envisaged, which will mainly be focussed on strengthening the waste treatment cycle, in line with the development of a circular economy. We propose to enter the sector of paper and plastic treatment and recycling as a key operator.

By the end of the plan period, we expect to be treating 2.2 million tons of waste, essentially doubling the volumes for 2018.

In 2019:

  • We acquired a 90% stake in Demap, a plastics recycling plant in Piemonte with an authorised capacity of 75,000 tons per year
  • We acquired a 60% equity interest in Berg, a waste management company that operates in the municipality of Frosinone with an authorised capacity of 143,000 tons per year
  • We inaugurated at Monterotondo Marittimo (province of Grosseto) one of the largest composting plants in Central Italy, with an authorised capacity of 70,000 tons per year

Diagram of the EBITDA in the environment sector of the Acea Group
Diagram of the investments in the environment sector of the Acea Group