Having successfully implemented an important development and transformation program in 2007-2012 over the last five years, the Group has focused on taking full advantage of its investments and maximizing economic return, thereby achieving the objectives set in 2013 to increase profitability and improve its balance sheet.
The Group is now able to develop a new strategy for the period 2019-23, the main pillars of which are:
- Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility
- Improving Competitiveness in core activities and increasing Export Orientation
- Developing new activities, with sustainability as key consideration
- Energy Transformation
- Digital Transformation and Innovation
Through the implementation of Strategic Priorities presented below, the Group aims to significantly improve profitability.
Leveraging Investments to Improve Performance and Safety
- Optimization of the new refining model, maximizing the full potential of all three refineries, as well as the synergies between them.
- Further development of international trading activities in the Mediterranean and the Balkans.
- Preparation for the upcoming changes in bunker fuel specifications (new IMO Regulation, effective from 2020). Increasing the number of crude oil types for processing and testing new types of crude oil to maximize production flexibility and ability to respond to market requirements.
Significant progress has been achieved regarding the operational optimization at Elefsina refinery and the implementation of a series of synergies between the three refineries, production increased to 15.5 million tons, with a substantial positive impact on the Group's financials.
The Aspropyrgos Refinery is expected to be affected by the forthcoming changes in bunker fuel specifications; to this end it has already started preparation by implementing appropriate planning and successfully testing new types of crude oil, as early as 4Q18.
Energy and Digital Transformation
The Group prepared and has already started to implement the Transformation Program 2019-2023, with anticipated benefits of €100 million, which includes:
- Operational and cost optimisation, benchmarking versus the safest and most competitive European refineries.
- Implementing Energy Transformation plans across business units with the aim of improving the environmental footprint, while capturing economic benefits.
- Implementing a Digital Transformation strategic program in the Group’s business units and central services.
- New BEST program for optimizing procurement of equipment and services.
- Retail Transformation, with an emphasis on extending the COMO service stations network as well as increasing the NFR products and services offering.
In 2018, energy transformation plans were developed, on all business units aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 200,000 tons over the five-year period and the first stage of the Group core business digital transformation study was completed, whereas development of procurement optimisation planning will follow.
Investments in Refining and Development in RES
- Emphasis on enhancing the performance of conversion units and improving the refining margin in all manufacturing facilities of the Group.
- Development of a significant Renewable Energy Sources portfolio.
In addition to long term maintenance investments in its facilities and infrastructure, the Group has been planning an investment plan of €300-400 million for the five-year period 2019-2023, with significant financial benefits. In its core business, the Group has identified high return investment opportunities, mainly in its complex refineries, to increase high value product output.
In the Renewable Energy Sources sector, the Group has 400 MW of power projects in various stages of development, as well as 26 MW already in operation. At the end of 2018, an additional 9 MW PV project in the area of Karditsa, became operational. In the next years, the Group seeks to develop PV, wind and biomass projects with a total operating capacity of 250-300 MW.
Maximising Activities’ Portfolio Value
- Further increase vertical integration of International Marketing and Petrochemicals with Refining.
- Invest in International Marketing in order to strengthen the Group’s position in the main regional markets.
- Focus on the Exploration of Hydrocarbons in Greece in cooperation with international partners.
- Enhance ELPEDISON's position in power generation and trading, and transition to the target model.
- Participation in Natural Gas trading.
In 2018, the sale process of 66% of the share capital of DESFA (31% owned by HRADF and 35% by HELPE SA) to "SENFLUGA Energy Infrastructure Holdings S.A.", a consortium composed of the Snam S.p.A., Enagás Internacional S.L.U. and Fluxys S.A., for a total consideration of €535 million (HELPE share: €284 million) was successfully completed and proceeds were received. In view of the upcoming DEPA privatization, the Group will seek to further clarify its position in the Natural Gas sector, by maximizing the value of its participation, with an emphasis on activities that complement the Group's portfolio.
The Group also recorded significant development in Exploration & Production, implementing its strategy to further expand its exploration portfolio in Western Greece, in cooperation with reputable companies in this sector, such as ExxonMobil, TOTAL, Repsol and Edison. The Group will continue investing in opportunities in the E&P sector, in order to maximize shareholder value, considering interests of all stakeholders.
- Gradual deleverage from cash flow increased.
- Reduction of Gross Debt and financial costs.
The Group's financial position strengthened further, as financial costs recorded further decrease of 12% in 2018, following the successful completion of the refinancing program, while gearing ratio reached 38%, the lowest since 2009, in line with Group's long-term strategy.
Developing Human Resources
- Focus on developing our people and their expertise through investing in continuous training.
- Establish a culture of excellence and reward in all of our activities.
The Group has continued to invest in training throughout the crisis. Over the last few years, the Group has proceeded to the development of the EDGE and EDGE Commercial training programs and increased training hours.
Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility
- The Group’s contribution and responsible attitude towards the community as a whole, in collaboration with institutions, volunteer organizations and NGOs, are directed to 5 key axes: Vulnerable Social Groups & Health, Youth and Education, Sustainable Cities and Environment, Culture, Sports.
In 2018, the Group increased its social responsibility actions.
Corporate Governance Review
In the context of continuous improvement of Corporate Governance, HELPE aims at implementing the following actions:
- Implementing a process and establishing a nominations Committee for members of the Board of Directors
- Preparation of the operations manual for the members’ nomination committee which will be included in the Operations Manual of the Company.
- Regular evaluation of the size and composition of the BoD.
- Development of a nomination policy for members of the Boards of Directors of the Group's subsidiaries.
- Evaluation of the BoD and its committees.
- Taking advantage of all the provisions relating to the structure, composition, as well as duties and responsibilities of the Audit Committee (L. 4449/2017).
- Minimizing deviations from the Corporate Governance Code and its practices.