Stop the confusion about DONG Energy
By Martin Barlebo, Head of Communication, DONG Energy
Last Sunday, in the Danish newspaper POLITIKEN under the heading ‘Confused?’, the Readers’ Editor writes about the newspaper’s articles about DONG Energy during the past week. In a debate piece published in Politiken on 27 March, DONG Energy has stated that in a number of articles, Politiken mislead its readers about the value of the company at the time when it was necessary to inject new capital at the turn of the year 2013-2014.
The Readers’ Editor refers to the fact that according to its ethical guidelines, Politiken will not comment directly on letters to editors as in this way, the newspaper will always have the last word in the matter and thereby exert an unreasonable control of the debate. Nevertheless, the Readers’ Editor is repeating Politiken’s incorrect claims and is thereby trying to have the final say in the matter.
The Readers’ Editor explains that the Assistant Professor from Aalborg University who has made the calculations stands by them. This may very well be, but it doesn’t change the fact that Politiken has used the calculations in a wrong way to establish its own version of the truth.
The three British offshore wind farms were already included in the value of DONG Energy at the time of the capital increase. Already before the articles were published on 25 March, DONG Energy drew Politiken’s attention to this fact in emails and conversations.
On Tuesday evening, after the articles were published, we submitted a press release in which we remonstrated with Politiken about the factual errors in the articles. We also submitted a debate piece to Politiken on 25 March, ie the same day that the first articles were published. But the editorial office decided not to bring our statements in the newspaper on 26 March nor to correct the errors which we pointed out in our press release. On the contrary, Politiken continued its biased coverage.
On 27 March, Politiken wrote that DONG Energy had not answered the follow-up questions. This is not correct. DONG Energy replied dutifully on a comprehensive set of follow-up questions. Once again, we explained in detail how the value of the potential British projects was included in the valuation of DONG Energy. However, the journalists decided to ignore this detailed explanation.
The Readers’ Editor throws himself into the debate and repeats the idea that a subsequent upward adjustment of the price of DONG Energy should have taken place six months after the agreement on equity when we were awarded the three offshore wind projects and thereby were guaranteed that they could be realised. If we were to follow Politiken’s logic, should the new investors then get a refund when we had to recognise major impairment losses on our oil and gas activities in 2014 due to significant price drops in the market? DONG Energy's new investors must, just like shareholders in all other companies, accept both losses and profits.
Now, we hope that Politiken’s confusing use of calculations about DONG Energy is over so that articles about the company are written on a factually correct basis - and that confusion does not have the last word.