Feature article on the wrong track
By Martin Barlebo, Head of Communication, DONG Energy
During 2012, DONG Energy's earnings contracted by 37% due to changes in the energy markets that led to losses in our gas business. During the same period, our debt rose by 29% as a result of extensive investment in renewable energy and in oil and gas production. In 2012, this resulted in a red bottom-line figure of DKK 4 billion.
Credit rating agencies called on us to restore a healthy earnings-to-debt ratio – failing that, our credit rating would be downgraded. Anders-Peter Mathiasen's claim that DONG Energy was not in crisis is therefore incorrect.
We launched an action plan with a key element: injection of fresh equity. A political decision was made that the equity was to be contributed by private investors. In February 2013, DONG Energy hosted a well-attended press conference, announcing that the search for new capital was initiated. We implemented a structured process in which we approached investors around the world.
In 2013, DONG Energy's value was assessed by two independent banks at DKK 31.5 billion. Goldman Sachs, ATP and PFA made the best offer when the elements of both price and risk-willingness were included in the equation. In August 2015, the offers received were presented to the Danish Parliament's Finance Committee, and the Committee Chairman has confirmed that this was the best offer.
Employees and managers in DONG Energy were given the opportunity to invest their own funds in DONG Energy. This opportunity also applied to Henrik Poulsen, CEO, who bought shares worth DKK 6.2 million. Henrik Poulsen did not buy share options as stated in the feature article.
DONG Energy has managed to convert its business to green energy faster than other European energy companies, and we are one of few European energy companies to see growth in earnings. This supports our continued investment in green energy. In October 2015, we decided to build the world's largest offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea.
As the Danish government owns 59% of DONG Energy, DONG Energy's strong competences benefit all of us. After an IPO, the Danish government will retain its controlling interest in DONG Energy.
Due to low energy demand, among other factors, the European energy sector has lost almost half of its value since the financial crisis in 2008. Over the past year, oil prices have tumbled by 50%, causing us to write down the value of our oil business by DKK 6.6 billion in 2014. This just goes to show that the energy sector remains a risky investment, and there are no guarantees of a major gain when DONG Energy is to be listed on the stock exchange.
Anders-Peter Mathiasen's feature article is based on anonymous sources and sound bites rather than financial analysis and facts. The article presents a distorted picture, which has no basis in reality. At dongenergy.com, you can find a detailed memo in which we, point by point, take you through the proper context of Anders-Peter Mathiasen's false claims and misrepresentations.