João Manso Neto, CEO
2021 was a year marked by changes at Greenvolt.
How would you describe this financial year?
2021 was a historical year for Greenvolt, at all levels. The company was redesigned, we defined an innovative market positioning, which consisted of a differentiating strategy with an ambitious but realistic growth trajectory. Market recognition materialised in the success of our entry into the stock market, through the successful IPO on the Portuguese stock exchange, and the rapid promotion of Greenvolt to its reference index, the PSI-20.
This year was marked by the materialisation of the strategy we defined, with various acquisitions and partnership agreements that allowed Greenvolt to expand its presence in the European market and led to its entry into the American market.
The first steps have been taken. And the results are starting to be visible: the company recorded a substantial increase in its turnover, the adjusted EBITDA has almost doubled, and presented to the shareholders a positive adjusted Net profit of 11.9 million Euros.
These figures, which could not have been achieved without a team of brilliant professionals with years of experience in the renewable energy business, are a proof to our investors of a well-planned strategy that will continue to be implemented.
The recognition is seen in the strong valuation that Greenvolt has recorded since it went public, with a valorisation over 30% by the end of 2021, but also in the success it has achieved in financing in the capital markets, using “green debt”.
We were one of the first Portuguese companies to issue green bonds, with a second issue in 2021 of 100 million Euros, in which the demand has exceeded the initially planned offer by more than 50%.
What are the main pillars of Greenvolt’s differentiating strategy?
Greenvolt’s strategy is based on three primary axes: renewable residual biomass, development of solar and wind energy projects and distributed generation.
The genesis of Greenvolt is residual renewable biomass, a market segment where the company has a track record of over 15 years, being a market leader in Portugal and a reference operator in Europe. Residual biomass is a renewable fuel that makes sense to use in electricity production. It generates very positive externalities for the communities where the industrial plants are located and for the country as a whole: on the one hand, it creates incentives for cleaning up the forests by developing local biomass markets and, on the other hand, by contributing towards more appropriate forestry practices it is considered a powerful mitigating agent against the seasonal forest fires that ravage Portugal every summer.
In addition to biomass, Greenvolt is present in the more traditional market segment of renewable energy – solar and wind – but has chosen to operate primarily in the most upstream part of the value chain: project development. This area of operation, less capital intensive, but very demanding in terms of know-how and expertise, covers all activities from the design of a project to its authorisation or construction.
Distributed energy generation is an area with a high growth potential for Greenvolt. Portugal has one of the highest solar irradiation levels in Europe and one of the lowest penetration rates of distributed energy generation, so it makes perfect sense to invest in this sector through photovoltaic solar sources, essentially aimed at self-consumption, using a set of very abundant and practically unused spaces: rooftops.
There is a debate held at European level on the classification of types of biomass. What types of biomass are used by Greenvolt?
Greenvolt has an absolutely immovable principle: we only use residual biomass for the production of electricity. In Portugal we use residual forest biomass and in the UK residual urban biomass. I believe that biomass is a technology that makes sense and that has a future as long as the right biomass is used – which is the biomass that has no other use, and also if it is not used for producing electrical energy, it can have very serious consequences, such as forest fires.
I therefore restate that the use of residual biomass, whether forest or urban, makes perfect sense.
The discussion currently taking place at European level is largely related to this concept of residue, and it seems to make sense to us: the biomass used for the production of electricity should not have an alternative with higher added value – biomass value cascade principle – and should be a generator of positive externalities, taking into account the specificities of each region or country. In the case of Portugal, the fight against forest fires is the most important externality, while in the case of the United Kingdom, where landfills will be banned from 2025, the use of biomass for electricity production allows the valuation of a useless by-product.