Surging profits from renewables pushed the overall income higher at EnBW last year, allowing the German utility to meet its 2020 earnings target early and be well prepared for the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, chief executive Frank Mastiaux said.

The company moved quickly to take wide-ranging and to date highly effective countermeasures to safeguard people’s health while securing energy supplies, the CEO claimed.

“Our workforce are doing a fantastic job in difficult conditions. EnBW is rock solid.”

EnBW has contingency plans in place that are practiced on a regular basis, Mastiaux said, with an expert task force working closely together with all specialist departments at the company and with external bodies.

“While many employees are keeping our day-to-day business running by working from home, the operational teams responsible for our power plants, grid control centres, the supply of water and the disposal of waste are ensuring that our energy supply system is also working safely and reliably during this difficult time.”

EnBW is majority-owned by the state of Baden-Württemberg, one of the hot spots of Covid-19 in Germany. The lung disease so far has been reported in 7052 people in the south-western state, of which 56 died.

Germany as a whole had 37,323 reported cases of the Coronavirus, while 206 people died of Covid-19, according to the data base of the Johns Hopkins University.

German utilities in recent days have assured the public that the power supply in Europe’s largest economy is secure. Dutch and German transmission system operators (TSOs) had already told Recharge earlier this month that key staff in their system control rooms could work isolated for weeks to maintain critical infrastructure running.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) at EnBW rose by 12.7% to €2.43bn ($2.66bn) in 2019, already exceeding a target of €2.4bn the utility had set for this year when announcing a new strategy back in 2013 geared towards a faster energy transition.

Renewable energies contributed with an ever larger share to the overall profit, with adjusted Ebitda in the segment surging 62.2% to €482.8m last year.

“We took advantage of market opportunities earlier than originally planned and invested in growth by acquiring the French project developer Valeco in the renewables sector and Cologne-based Plusnet in telecommunications,” said chief financial officer Thomas Kusterer.

The company also completed the Hohe See and Albatros offshore wind farms in the German North Sea last year, adding further generation capacity.

EnBW’s adjusted net profit rose by 79.5% to €786.8m in 2019, as the grids and sales segments also performed well, compensating for a lower performance in the generation and trading area.

The company sees adjusted Ebitda reaching €2.75-2.9bn this year, with an expected €825-925m coming from the renewables segment alone.

“As of today, the corona crisis has not yet had any significant impact on our operating business,” Kusterer said.

But he cautioned: “Depending on the duration and intensity of developments going forward, we cannot rule out delays on individual projects. It is too early to be able to say more.”