eKapija: It was said that the company aimed “to establish a renewable energy production portfolio of several hundreds of megawatts in Central and Eastern Europe, including both solar and wind projects”. Are we going to see more wind farms, or solar energy plants by MET Group in the region of Central and South-Eastern Europe?
- The primary goal for MET Group is to create a diversified energy portfolio, in which renewables play a key role. In addition to sustainability considerations, we see renewable energy production as a business opportunity too. MET has already built a 17,6 MW solar power plant in Hungary (Százhalombatta), and now we have joined forces with NIS to build the wind park in Serbia. We are constantly building our project pipeline and examining other possibilities in the CEE region.
eKapija: Could we also expect investments in the natural gas and oil market in Serbia, given that they are within your company’s portfolio?
- MET has been present in Serbia for several years, fully licensed and active in trading natural gas, electricity and oil products. We will thoroughly study all other investment opportunities.
eKapija: Would you advise companies or consortia from other branches of industry to start investing in the renewable sources of energy in Serbia and wider, or is it too late to step into the business now?
- It depends on the strategic goals and the risk-taking appetite of a company whether it wants to enter a specific market or not. In any case, it is in the interest of all governments to support renewable energy. The volume of tariffs and the length of compensation periods are rather similar in European countries. We can now see a decreasing trend in tariffs as investment costs are getting lower as well.
eKapija: Can you tell us something more about MET Group’s overall plans, not only in Serbia?
- MET Group has followed an intensive growth strategy in recent years, opening several new subsidiaries in Europe. MET is now present in 15 countries through subsidiaries, 28 national gas markets and 22 international trading hubs. The goal is to continue this growth – as a European energy company, we would like to become a leading energy market player on the continent. Just to give you two examples: MET traded 35 billion cubic meter (BCM) of natural gas in 2017, its consolidated revenue in the same year was EUR 7,6 billion. A key element of MET Group’s business strategy is the development of a diversified asset portfolio, in which Wind Park Plandiste will be an important part. MET has already built a 17,6 MW solar power plant in Hungary, it is the majority owner of the country’s largest gas-fired power plant, and it owns Hungary’s biggest natural gas distributor Tigáz, with a 33,000 km-long pipeline network representing 48% of the total gas grid. MET Group now has access to a total of EUR 959 million in credit facilities, almost reaching the EUR 1 billion bar. This funding base will support the company in its long-term growth strategy.
eKapija: Could you give us some details on your company’s organization, being owned 100% by its managers and employees? Are they all shareholders, and does this make them more motivated to work for the collective well-being of the company?
- We decided to change the ownership structure of MET Group, and executed a management-buy-out in May 2018. Thus, MET has transformed into a 100% management-owned company. Last year, about 60 MET Group managers were invited into the share program. From 2019 on the circle of owners will broaden, based on the performance of employees. Cultivating human capital makes the difference and this ownership approach ensures the maximum performance of our colleagues, motivating them even more.