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Ence increases its net profit by 60% in the first half of 2018
Ence - Energía y Celulosa achieved a net profit of € 50.3 million in the first half of the year, 60% higher than in the same period of 2018. The Group's EBITDA increased by 49% and reached € 130.8 million, driven by the improvement in the price of pulp and the incorporation of the 27 MW biomass plant in Lucena (Córdoba).
Ignacio Colmenares, CEO of Ence, stressed that "the trend of growth of results will continue in the second half of the year, in which we will achieve higher levels of production, both in the pulp and energy business. All this will allow us to exceed our goal of 300 million euros of EBITDA this year." He also stressed that "the prospects for the evolution of pulp prices continue to be very favorable. The strength of demand and the absence of large projects to increase production capacity suggest a scenario of strong prices, at least until 2023.
Ence has increased the capacity of its biofuel plant in Pontevedra by 30,000 t in March and has begun work on the expansion of 80,000 t in the Navia biofactory, which will be completed in nine months.
In the energy business, Ence is investing in 99 MW in energy generation with biomass. The construction of the plants in Huelva and Puertollano is progressing at a good pace, with an output of 46 MW each, to which will be added a third 7-megawatt plant that will be located in one of the Ence plants in the olive grove area. These facilities will become operational by the end of 2019 and will boost the EBITDA of the Energy business to 90 million annually in 2020.
The strong generation of free cash from Ence has allowed € 78 million to be allocated to investments in the Strategic Plan, to pay a complementary dividend of € 16 million and to maintain net indebtedness by the end of 2017. The Group's leverage level at the end of the semester it is only 0.6 times the EBITDA of the last 12 months. The Board of Directors of Ence has agreed to pay a first interim dividend for 2018 on September 12th for an amount of € 25 million, equivalent to € 0.104 gross per share.
Ence is fulfilling the investments foreseen in its Strategic Plan and is finalizing a new Plan, which will be presented in autumm, to continue generating value for its shareholders, environmental excellence and safety for employees and facilities.