In order to keep up with scenario changes, we have launched an important infrastructural investment plan which, without affecting the soundness of our financial structure, has an immediately positive impact on performance and EBITDA.
The scenario in which we operate is influenced by certain megatrends, such as development of the circular economy, energy transition (through decarbonisation and electrification), the drive towards technological innovation and digitalisation, as well as the constantly increasing emphasis on customer focus and progressive consolidation in the reference markets.
- Central role of utilities in sustainability with particular focus on circular economy
- Protection of water resources and recyclingtransformation of waste into new resources
- Push toward decarbonization, phase-out of coal vs RES boost
- Electrification and new energy consumption related to emerging needs driven by the new European Green Deal
- Digital and innovation as enablers for development along the entire value chain
- Technological enabling of new advanced services (e.g. predictive maintenance, smart meter)
- Progressive consolidation of competition in select reference markets (e.g. Waste, Water)
- Opportunities for utilities to become leaders of target geographies or supply chains
- "Paradigm shift" with customer value becoming more important
- Transition from "Commodity-Based" to "Service-Based"
We also operate in highly regulated sectors, including in terms of tariffs. The reference regulatory context is extensive and articulated, according to the specific nature of the businesses managed (water, energy and environmental) but also the variety of areas in which the detailed legislative and regulatory provisions affecting our business intervene.
Finally, the technological scenario shows dynamism, with intense research and development by producers of technological services, as well as the pervasive application of these technologies in all the group's areas of operation.
Water sector: The Authority’s action, for all regulated sectors, is directed towards ensuring the usability and distribution of services in a homogeneous manner throughout the national territory, defining suitable levels of service quality, drawing up certain and transparent tariff systems based on predefined criteria and enhancing the protection of user and consumer interests.
For service managers, development opportunities will therefore be closely linked to their ability to adopt advanced technological systems and efficient performance improvement models, together with general objectives that take account of social issues, environmental protection and the efficient use of resources.
Moreover, the regulation by the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (ARERA) on the quality of the integrated water service more heavily rewards the efficiency of operators, with the introduction of a premium/penalty mechanism associated with performance standards. For service managers, development opportunities will therefore be closely linked to the capacity to adopt evolved technological systems and efficient models, which can significantly improve performances. As regards the market, the sector’s top players are proceeding with a view to consolidation.
In addition to these structural trends, in 2020 the COVID-19 health emergency had repercussions on the legislative and regulatory situation. The action taken by the regulator was aimed at guaranteeing the continuity and availability of essential services, at the same time ensuring conditions of maximum safety and protection for public utility workers, in accordance with national legislation.
Energy: the National Energy Strategy adopted by the Italian government in 2017, together with the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC) definitively approved at the end of 2019, defined certain key elements, including:
To respond to these changes, Acea is working on new initiatives, from developing renewables to e-mobility.
Environment: the market context in the area of Waste Management is showing a high “potential demand”, for example insofar as concerns landfill disposal, waste-to-energy, composting and the production of biogas. This sector is also favoured by the national regulatory framework, which envisages forms of incentive, and by the European Union indications on the Circular Economy (“Closing the Loop”), aimed at recycling and recovering materials, facilitating the development of a new system of plant engineering designed to close the infrastructural gap, particularly in the treatment of organic waste. The sector offers growth opportunities also due to the availability of new technologies (for example, composting) and the possible industrial integrations with other operators. The situation is therefore propitious for our growth strategy, also via acquisitions and with a view to positioning the Group as major operator in the treatment and recycling of paper and plastic.
Read more about our strategic initiatives.
For further information regarding market trends and the regulatory and tariff framework, reference is made to the 2020 consolidated financial statements
For further information regarding the sustainability context, reference is made to the 2020 Sustainability Report.
Based on the results achieved in 2020, we have defined the guidance for 2021 as follows:
|2019||2020||2022 objective||2024 objective|
|EBITDA (mln Euro)||1,042||1,155||1,270||1,442|
|Net profit (mln Euro)||284||285||317||382|
|RAB (bln Euro)||4.2||4.8||5.3||5.9|