The head of Engie wants to use gains made by the company last year to maintain forward momentum in 2018.

Isabelle Kocher said 2018 would be “decisive in terms of accelerating and deepening partnerships”, pointing to Engie’s investments in fuel-cell specialist Symbio FCell, green mobility and solar energy, notably in Africa.
Isabelle Kocher
Engie hopes to boost earnings growth and partnerships in its core businesses of renewable energy, grids and energy services this year, after an estimated five per cent gain in core earnings in 2017, its chief executive said.

She said 2018 would see an acceleration of growth.

“Our 2017 earnings guidance was based on a growth rate of about five per cent for our core businesses, which is a lot in today’s world. For 2018, our ambition is to continue moving ahead at a very high pace,” she said.

While she painted a rosy picture for earnings, she said a plan to invest EUR15bn in new assets was nearly complete, but she did not give a detailed breakdown on how the money had been spent.

Last year, Engie sold its upstream liquefied natural gas assets for $1.5bn, its exploration and production business for $3.9bn and the Loy Yang B coal-fired power station in Australia for $835m.

Of the EUR15bn expected to be raised from the disposal of fossil fuel assets, Kocher said Engie had already spent about two thirds and signed or secured about 90 per cent.

Engie has not made major acquisitions in the past two years: in 2017 it bought 40 per cent of Dubai cooling specialist Tabreed for $762 million and the building regeneration business of Keepmoat for $455m, as well as a stake in electric vehicle charging specialist EVBox and the energy services activities of Spie in Morocco.

In renewable energy, it brought 6 GW of new power generation online over the past two years, and another 6 GW have been signed or secured.
In Chile, it is building a power network that will connect the country’s northern and southern power grids. Kocher also confirmed Engie is interested in bidding for a stake in a gas pipeline grid owned by Brazil’s Petrobras.
Kocher said that about 12,000 new staff had been hired in the company’s energy services division, boosting the unit’s headcount to 100,000, two-thirds of the total.

Kocher said the shift to renewables, grids and services had improved Engie’s return on capital employed.

“All of this is of significant scale, and as it is organic growth,” she said, adding that she would outline a new strategy for 2030 in the second half of 2018.