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Eric Wagner is the new CEO of aventron

The Board of Directors of aventron has appointed Eric Wagner as the company’s CEO. He will assume the role of CEO on October 1, 2022.

Eric Wagner has been a member of the Executive Management of aventron since 2014 and was most recently responsible for developing and implementing the investment strategy. Prior to that, he held various management positions. He has been with aventron since 2010 and his achievements include paving the way for the company’s expansion beyond Switzerland and developing a portfolio of wind, solar and hydro power plants in France. Eric Wagner was appointed COO of aventron in 2014 before switching to the role of CIO in 2019. Eric Wagner (56), who comes from France, is a family man and holds a degree from the School of Engineering in Physics from Grenoble.

Eric Wagner: “I am delighted to be able to develop and lead this dynamic and successful company. We are facing some major challenges within a difficult environment, but there are also exciting opportunities within the renewable energy sector. I am very happy to tackle these tasks and have a professional and competent team to rely on.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr Conrad Ammann: “I am delighted that in Eric Wagner we have managed to appoint the ideal CEO for aventron. He is well connected internationally, has in-depth industry knowledge and has many years of top management experience. He is also a performance-oriented and trustworthy leader who is very familiar with the company and its strategy.” Eric Wagner will assume the role of CEO on 1 October 1, 2022.

CEO Change at aventron

After nine very successful years at aventron, CEO Antoine Millioud is leaving the company in the fall of 2022. The search for a successor has been initiated.

aventron was founded in 2005 as Kleinkraftwerk Birseck (KKB). When Antoine Millioud took over the management of the company in 2013, consolidated sales amounted to CHF 11.1 million. The growth of the new aventron was consistently focused on renewable energies. Under the leadership of Antoine Millioud, the installed capacity of renewable electricity production has increased tenfold to around 700 megawatts and sales of CHF 120.2 million through the construction and acquisition of solar, hydro and wind power plants. This has made aventron Switzerland’s second largest decentralized renewable power generation company. In step with its strong growth, aventron has always been profitable and has been able to pay out steadily increasing dividends to its shareholders

Board of Directors regrets departure

Antoine Millioud is leaving the company to take on a new challenge. The energy sector expert will become CEO of a leading European solar company. The Board of Directors regrets this decision: « However, we have great understanding for the change and thank Antoine Millioud for his extraordinary commitment to aventron and the expansion of the segment of renewable power generation, » explains Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Conrad Ammann. The Board of Directors has initiated the search for a successor.

aventron increases earnings and plans capital raise to finance further expansion

In the past financial year aventron developed successfully and increased earnings to CHF 16,9 million. To finance the further development aventron proposes to the general assembly a capital increase of maximum CHF 60 million at an issue price of CHF 11.50 per share.

In the past financial year revenues grew by 16% to CHF 120,2 (previous year 103,7) million. The further expansion of the power plant portfolio and the increased electricity prices contributed to this growth. aventron increased EBIT disproportionately by 18% to CHF 37,2 (PY 31,5) million. The particular market circumstances led to a net income of CHF 16,9 (PY 12,7) million. The earnings per share (eps) grew to CHF 0.35 per share. By the end of 2021 the portfolio consisted of 682 (PY 604) MW installed capacity. The wind segment delivered 49% of the revenues. 32% stemmed from the solar PV segment and 19% from the hydro segment.

Proposed dividend 12% higher

aventron would like its shareholders to participate in these positive results. The Board of Directors thus proposes to the General Meeting to increase the dividend by 11,5% to CHF 0.29 (PY 0.26) per share. The Annual General Meeting of aventron AG will take place on 21 April 2022.

In 2021 aventron invested CHF 36,5 million in the acquisition of existing power plants and in the construction of its own generating capacity. The balance sheet per year end amounts to CHF 862,0 (PY 758,1) million. By the end of 2021 the aventron group held liquid assets totaling CHF 104,7 (PY 75,8) million.

Additional capital increase is planned

At the Annual General Assembly 2022 aventron will seek approval for an additional capital increase consisting of a volume of up to 5,2 million shares. This corresponds to an increase in equity of up to CHF 60 million. The registered shares will be issued at an issue price of CHF 11.50 per share. The planned capital increase is intended to generate additional funds for investments in a diversified portfolio in all the countries in which aventron is active. The intermediate target is to reach a portfolio size of 750 MW by 2023.

aventron acquires megawatt-class battery in Germany

aventron achieves important milestone in its storage strategy with the acquisition of a 5 MW battery in Germany.

Storing electricity from wind and solar power plants for days or weeks is an essential complement to renewable electricity production. It enables volatility to be balanced and generation and load to be aligned. aventron aims to steadily increase its available electricity storage volume. In doing so, aventron is focusing mainly on opportunities to raise dams at the intake of its small hydro power plants and using large batteries at its wind and solar power plants.

With regard to electricity storage, a first important project was completed last year with the raising of the dam at the Kvannvatn small hydro power plant in Mo I Rana, Norway. The raising of the dam by 3 m increased the storage volume by the equivalent of 1,195 MWh. With the acquisition of the Wölkisch large-scale battery, aventron is now also entering the field of large-scale battery storage.

The Wölkisch battery has a peak output of 4.8 MW and a storage volume of 5 MWh. The battery is connected to the substation of the Wölkisch wind farm in Saxony. The aventron wind power plant Wölkisch with 12.3 MW installed capacity also feeds into this substation. The Wölkisch battery will initially be used for balancing power, i.e. as a reserve to compensate for fluctuations in the electricity grid.

aventron is likely to implement further utility-scale batteries in the future. It is to be expected that, above all, large capacity ground-mounted solar power plants in Spain and Italy will be equipped with their own battery storage systems. This will make it possible to shift the excess energy produced during the day by a few hours into the evening.

aventron and Aberdeen Standard Investments join forces in Norwegian small-scale hydropower market consolidation

aventron AG (“aventron”) and Aberdeen Standard Investments (“ASI”) have agreed to merge their small scale hydropower portfolios to create Norway’s third largest small-scale hydro operator with annual production capacity of 460 GWh

aventron and ASI’s combined portfolio will focus on the development, construction, production and distribution of renewable energy through hydropower as well as wind power in Norway. The combined portfolio comprises 41 small scale hydro power plants (including one plant under construction) as well as an operational wind farm and a further wind farm under construction. The group also benefits from a strong pipeline of small scale hydro and wind projects. Combined annual production capacity is expected to reach c.460 GWh once all projects are fully operational.  

The hydropower sector in Norway is one of the most developed in the world and benefits from significant development and consolidation potential. With aventron’s assets mostly located in south Norway and ASI’s portfolio primarily based in the north of the country, the two portfolios are highly complementary. The merger provides geographical diversity, operational synergy potential and further de-risks the business by enhancing the long term competitive position of the joint company. 

The merger has been achieved through a contribution in kind, with aventron becoming the majority shareholder of the joint entity, aventron Norway AS. ASI through its first infrastructure fund, SL Capital Infrastructure I LP, will hold a substantial minority position with governance rights. The merged entity will benefit from having an aligned shareholder group bringing together experienced partners with deep renewable infrastructure knowledge. The shareholders are aligned in their ambition of driving further, sustainable growth for the business while continuing to focus on delivering the highest standard of safety, respect for the environment and operational reliability.