Massive write-downs soak Axpo in red ink
Swiss utility company Axpo said on Friday that eroding wholesale prices for electricity have forced it to write down 1.5 billion francs on the value of its power plants and energy supply contracts.
This resulted in an operating loss for the financial year ending September 30th of 730 million francs ($744 million), compared to an operating profit of 212 million francs.
Despite this the energy company, headquartered in Zurich, said it posted a “solid operating result in a challenging environment”.
Gross revenues slipped to 6.7 billion francs from seven billion francs.
Axpo, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, said it plans to keep a close eye on costs and profitability given the “distortions” in the electricity market.
Earlier this year, the company announced it was cutting 300 jobs over a three-year period following earlier staff reductions.
Overall staffing stood at 4,355 full-time positions as of September.
The company owns and operates the world’s oldest operating nuclear power plant, Beznau in the canton of Aargau, is part owner of two other such plants in Switzerland, and is the largest producer of hydro power in the country.
It has also invested in a range of other power generation plants, using wind, solar and geothermal energy.
Among other operations, it operates gas-fired power plants in Italy and power grids covering a third of Switzerland.