Speaking at today’s Ordinary General Meeting, the company’s President and CEO George Peristeris presented the significant achievements of the GEK TERNA Group.
The following is the full speech of Mr. Peristeris:
I welcome you to the annual regular general meeting of our Club.
And this year, unfortunately, the environment in which we are asked to move is full of challenges, which you all know. We believe, however, that the strategic choices and moves we have made in recent years have adequately equipped our Group to cope with this difficult situation as well.
This year is a milestone for our Group, as this year our diligent and long-term efforts on various fronts are paying off cumulatively in almost all the sectors in which GEK TERNA operates. It is no coincidence that our Group is currently implementing or participating in investments totaling more than 6.5 billion. euros, which will create more than 20,000 new and mainly quality and well-paid jobs in the coming years.
A series of positive developments, which I will briefly present to you next, fill us with confidence and optimism for the future.
Let’s start with the concessions sector, where there has really been a leap forward in recent years. The GEK TERNA Group currently owns the largest portfolio of concessions in Greece, which can even stand in terms of size and composition at the European level. Its most recent and emblematic assets are the IRC Athens, the integrated tourist and entertainment development with a casino in Elliniko that will upgrade the position of Athens and our country in general on the world tourist map and of course the Egnatia Highway, the largest highway in Greece.
And of course, among others, our holdings in state-of-the-art highways such as Nea Odos, Central Odos and Olympia Odos, the new international airport in Kasteli, Crete as well as other concessions and PPPs, such as e.g. in ports, in infrastructures of integrated waste management and in sectors of the digital economy.
Our leading position in the concessions sector ensures the Group stable, long-term income that acts as a protective shield against the fluctuations of the economic cycle. Also, and this is particularly important in the current situation, it ensures a strong and quality additional backlog of projects at our construction company, TERNA, on extremely satisfactory terms.
Of course we do not stop here, as we seek to further expand our leadership position by participating in a number of tenders for new concessions in key transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructures.
In the infrastructure sector, TERNA is the best ambassador of the Greek technical world in Greece and in foreign markets, with a completely successful track record of timely delivery of high-demand projects. With a quality backlog of over 5 billion. euro, we look with great optimism to the future.
I would like to emphasize at this point that in addition to the public and private projects that we undertake and execute successfully, we invest and create additional backlog. Our own investments in key infrastructure reward TERNA with an even greater technical scope, offering us flexibility and additional possibilities in difficult times, such as the current one.
We are, of course, called upon at this time to face the challenge of the increase in the prices of raw materials and consequently the construction costs, a matter which we are following closely. Vigilance and a dynamic monitoring and management of the matter by the Ministry of Infrastructure are needed so that the tariffs of the works correspond as much as possible to the reality of the market, in order to complete the projects smoothly.
Let us now move on to the clean energy sector, where our Group also holds a leading position. Before the end of the decade we aim to have a portfolio of Renewable Energy projects with a total installed capacity of approximately 6.4 GW. TERNA ENERGY is the largest Greek investor in the production and storage of clean energy and in this difficult time we help the country and the consumers manifold with our projects and investments.
Let me recall at this point the supreme strategic importance of RES, especially wind energy, for dealing with the economic storm that fundamentally threatens the western democracies and not only, through the geopolitical instrumentalization of the cost of electricity: the energy produced by RES it precipitates the cost of electricity, while at the same time financing a large part of the subsidies which, while not fully sufficient, partially relieve consumers.
Our Group is also active in the field of conventional power generation and electricity trading through the company HERON, which is now our 100% subsidiary. With the HERON 1 and HERON 2 plants, HERON currently has a portfolio of plants with a total capacity of approximately 600 MW and a strong position among private electricity and natural gas providers.
At Group level, the total capacity is increased by the Natural Gas plant in Komotini with a capacity of 877 MW, which we are implementing in collaboration with Motor Oil, an investment of 375 million euros. In this area too, however, we are called upon to manage difficult challenges due to the situation that has developed in the electricity market. We are also waiting for the market’s operating framework to be clarified, at a time when the difficulties in paying off electricity bills from consumers are intensifying.
At this point, I would also like to refer to the important social dimension of our business activity, which improves the daily life of millions of people and helps social cohesion, with projects and investments that contribute to the place and create growth and wealth.
The GEK TERNA Group is always on the side of society and with an extensive Corporate Social Responsibility program, which last year amounted to 3.5 million euros.
From the first moment that the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the Group has been and remains a supporter of the work of the National Health System, through a large support program that continued in 2021 and continues this year as well. A particularly important social project implemented in 2021 was our donation to Damasi Tyrnavou, where TERNA built a new, modern school within just four months of the devastating earthquake that hit the area (March 2021), so that the students to start the new school year on time.
In addition, in 2021, the implementation of the large donation of TERNA ENERGY for the conversion of the 115th Fighter Wing in Souda into a “green” facility, covering its energy needs 100% from Renewable Energy Sources, began. As every year, in 2021 as well, we continued to support cultural and educational initiatives throughout Greece through sponsorships.
Among them, our support stands out, for the second year, in the underwater archaeological excavation research carried out in the maritime area of Kasos by the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, in collaboration with the Historical Research Institute of the National Research Foundation, which has already brings to light particularly important findings for the cultural heritage of Greece. Finally, responding to the emergency situations created by last summer’s devastating fires, the Group stood by the affected areas in many ways.
Our Group places particular emphasis on the ESG sector as a whole, i.e. in the areas of environmental protection, social support and corporate governance. We have set up a special board committee. for the supervision of the relevant issues, as well as a special working group with executives from almost all the Group’s Departments, which works intensively for this purpose.
The Sustainable Development Report, for 2021, which has been drawn up according to the most modern standards – according to GRI, SASB and the Athens Stock Exchange – finds production of direct economic value increased by 10% compared to 2020, amounting to approximately 1.2 billion. euro.
Also, the Group participates in the CDP Climate Change international platform, now recording and publicizing the impact of our activities on the environment with the aim of a truly sustainable economy. During this period, we are developing a targeted plan of actions to reduce the carbon footprint of our activities, with specific and measurable objectives for improving the indicators of direct and indirect energy emissions, which will be harmonized with the objectives of both the SBTi (Science Based Target initiative) and the Agreement of Paris.
Dear shareholders, friends.
What we have achieved is the basis on which we step for a new leap forward with even greater growth in the future. Our achievements are the result of the hard work of our people, the excellent human resources of the Group companies and the good reputation we have built over time with competence, professionalism, consistency, insight and empathy that distinguish our Group, virtues that constitute the our most substantial and convincing legacy for the future.
I want to close with something pleasant concerning all of you. This year our company is proceeding with a capital return of 0.12 euros per share, which means that a total of approximately 12.5 million euros will be distributed to our shareholders. This move marks the beginning of a new era in which we believe that our shareholders will increasingly enjoy the fruits of our joint effort.