Utilities in the spotlight with expensive energy and price measures in focus

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(Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor) – In the seesaw for many sessions, the stocks of the utility sector continue to be observed special and, in a declining FTSE MIB, in the session of 1 September they travel below par (Hera, Terna, Italgas, Enel and A2a) . While expensive energy is taking center stage, proposals at the Italian and European level to stem it are also central, ideas that for the moment have not translated into an organic strategy to be implemented immediately. Indeed, according to the Financial Timesis a definitive proposal on gas prices is unlikely and electricity on 9 September, while they could arrive in the State of the Union address on 14 September. Meanwhile, Portugal and Spain have already introduced a cap on gas prices for the “buyer”, which allows operators in the sector to obtain the reimbursement of the higher purchase costs of gas on the market and therefore to reduce the final prices of electricity. . The EU cap could instead be on the “seller” of gas in Europe (Russia in particular): the measure could lead to a reduction in gas prices, but at the same time to a risk on volumes.

In Italy, one of the key issues is that of the taxation of extra-profits (i.e. the earnings made by energy companies in the wake of the increase in electricity and gas prices; the Draghi government has decided to increase from 10 to 25% the rate of the extraordinary contribution on the higher added value of energy companies, but the revenues derived from the tax were much lower than expected). On Wednesday Eni announced the new estimate for the tax on extra-profits, increasing the amount from 500 million to about 1.4 billion, but for the moment none of the utilities have announced similar measures (the companies in the sector have no foreign operations with sales in Italy), having confirmed the payment of the 40% deposit on the scheduled dates (Enel 70 million total due, Iren 42 million, Acea 28.5 million, A2a 45 million, Erg 40 million and Hera 25-30 million).

«For the utilities sector it should be emphasized that several companies have filed appeals both on the issue of constitutionality and applicability of the rule and on specific issues relating to the inclusion of asset sales in the calculation perimeters. The judgments are currently suspended with the expected pronouncement on these elements in November “, the Equita analysts recall, explaining that” for the power generators the only risk would be the failure to consider hedging policies in the calculation of the tax, which however seems unlikely to us. However, between powergen and retail sales, results fell in the first half (net of perimeter changes) for most of the companies. At the moment we do not expect negative read throughs for utilities ». As reported by the newspapers, further impacts could come from new government measures such as the introduction of one additional Irap (for now not formalized): «This is clearly a risk for companies in the sector even if a similar tax only on utilities and energy companies had already been considered unconstitutional in the past Robin Tax», explain the experts.

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