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Italy's A2A sees opportunity in neighbours' power supply crunch
January 18, 2017 / 3:17 PM / a year ago

Italy's A2A sees opportunity in neighbours' power supply crunch

* Northern Italy generators ideally placed to export more - CEO

* Flexible hydroelectric power suited to complement renewables

* A2A may reconsider Montenegro presence

* A2A could make further acquisitions this year

By Karolin Schaps

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest regional power utility A2A is positioning itself to benefit from neighbouring countries’ decisions to reduce nuclear power production by selling them more of its electricity, its chief executive said.

The energy provider mainly generates electricity from hydroelectric power plants in the Italian Alps, placing it in an ideal location to export to countries such as France and Switzerland which have both announced intentions to reduce electricity output from nuclear plants.

“We see increasing opportunities for exports to France, Germany and Switzerland,” A2A Chief Executive Valerio Camerano told Reuters in an interview in London.

“The players placed in the northern part of Italy will be more engaged in that game,” he added.

The French government wants to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear energy to 50 percent by 2025, down from 75 percent now, while Switzerland plans to phase out nuclear power completely by 2050. Germany plans to get rid of nuclear much sooner, by 2022.

Camerano said A2A’s power supply from hydroelectric plants was flexible enough to cater for neighbouring countries where import demand can fluctuate as they make greater use of renewable energy.

Beyond Italy, A2A is already a power generator in Montenegro.

However, Camerano said he may have to consider leaving the country if the new government does not resolve issues about investments, dividends and the management of the local company.

“If all the items discussed with the new government will not be entirely solved, we will have to reconsider out presence in the market,” he said.

Expanding in its home market, A2A bought a majority stake in smaller rival Linea Group Holding (LGH), in keeping with government intentions to see more of Italy’s roughly 1,500 municipal utilities form partnerships.

Camerano, whose company wants to triple its customer base to 1 million customers in the liberalised market by 2020, said A2A could make further acquisitions this year, albeit not of the scale of the LGH takeover.

“I do see more and more local players looking around,” he said. (Editing by Keith Weir)

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