As is well known, the Acea Group operates mainly in regulated markets and the requirements and obligations that characterise them (as well as changes in the rules of operation of these markets) can significantly affect the results and performance of operations. In particular, several Group companies manage the Integrated Water Service in their respective Territorial Areas, which is known to be a sector receiving an increasing level of attention from lawmakers and the Sector Authority (ARERA). The Group is therefore exposed to the evolution of the relevant legal/regulatory frameworks in the areas served.
In this regard, it should be noted that following the extension of ARERA’s regulatory and control powers to waste management, Companies in the Environment Segment are also exposed to potential risks arising from changes in the regulatory framework.
These risks are mitigated by careful monitoring of regulatory developments, interacting with the relevant bodies and participating in association and institutional meetings carried out by the competent business structures in synergy with the Group’s organisational structures. These structures monitor regulatory developments in terms of providing support in the preparation of comments in the response to the Consultation Paper, in line with the interests of Group companies, and guidance for the consistent application of regulations in corporate procedures and within the electricity, gas, water and environment businesses.
In providing services to its customers, the Acea Group is very attentive to the expectations and choices of its institutional, regional and central counterparts. On the other hand, most of its activities are in any case sensitive to the economic and structural dynamics experienced by the economic and productive fabric of the respective regions.
In this sense, the main factors influencing the Group’s performance include changes in the political, social and macroeconomic context of reference. These uncertainties can have an impact on the achievement of economic/financial objectives and investments, as well as on the implementation of major works, whose timing can be influenced by changes in government structures at both a central and local level.
With regard to the development initiatives envisaged in the Business Plan in the Environment Segment (growth through M&A and construction of greenfield plants), there is a risk deriving from the failure of the competent authorities to issue permits.
The Group has historically focused on guaranteeing levels of excellence in the technical and commercial quality of the services provided, including through dialogue models that are increasingly attentive to the needs expressed by its stakeholders in order to put in place virtuous dynamics in relations with its customers, also with regard to payment habits. In this regard, it should be noted that the Group is also subject to the risk of deterioration of its credit positions, particularly in connection with the provision of the Integrated Water Service, with consequences on the exposure of working capital.
This risk is managed proactively by the relevant structures of the individual companies, applying specific Group Credit Policies and
In relation to the international geopolitical crisis arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, there are difficulties and uncertainties when assessing the effects and repercussions that could arise from the continuation of this international crisis.
Management is currently engaged in monitoring the situation on international markets and will continue its analysis of commodity price trends over the coming months as well as the trend of receivables that however do not represent critical elements at the moment. With reference to raw materials, in addition to monitoring balances on the basis of fixed and variable price sales forecasts, Group companies only use high-standing counterparties that meet the requirements of their own commodity and counterparty risk procedures. With regard to the short and medium-term effects of a financial nature, the Group is carrying out appropriate monitoring activities in order to take timely action. It should be noted that Acea Group has no direct relations with companies under Russian, Ukrainian or Belarusian law that are in any way affected by the conflict. Given the situation of absolute uncertainty, the Acea Group will reflect in the Business Plan any impacts that are currently undetermined.