Project sales and implementation at PNE may be postponed by a year in the wake of the Coronavirus, prompting the Germany-based renewables developer to lower its guidance for 2020, but the pandemic shouldn’t have a significant long-term impact on business, chief executive Markus Lesser said.
“At present, we assume that there may be shifts in our operating business as regards the sale of project rights and project implementation from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022 due to the current developments concerning the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Lesser said as the company presented 2019 earnings results.
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder of PNE, holding almost 40%, after an attempt to take over the entire company in 2019 failed.
“This has already been taken into account in the guidance. At this point in time, we assume that there should be no significant impact on our business in the medium to long term.”
Lesser’s comments came as wind turbine manufacturers increasingly announce factory closures in country’s hard hit by Covid-19 (the respiratory disease caused by the Coronavirus), such as Spain, or where strict lockdowns have been imposed, such as India.
PNE expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) to decrease to €15-20m ($16.5-22m) this year, with operating profit measured in Ebit seen going down to €5-10m.
The company last year posted an Ebitda of about €31.6m, and an Ebit of about €19.0m, PNE said – with both figures coming in at the upper end of its guidance for 2019.
“2019 was a good year for the PNE Group, which we concluded with a very good result. Operationally, we have been successful in various markets including Sweden and Poland,” Lesser said.
The developer last year had 451MW in projects sold, commissioned or under construction, up from 235.7MW in 2018. PNE also operated 130MW in projects itself in 2019, up from 77MW in the previous year.
Its wind farm project pipeline swelled to 5.24GW last year, up from 4.88GW in 2018. The company also built up a solar project pipeline of 123MW in Germany, Romania and the US.