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Hera was established through the merger of 11 local public utility companies in November 2002. The establishment of the Group, one of the major Italian players in the business, was the largest domestic transaction in the local multi-utility industry.

On 26 June 2003, only seven months after the merger, the Hera privatisation process came to an end with its listing on the Milan Stock Exchange, the first IPO after the dot-com speculative bubble burst. The placement ended successfully, with the placement of 100% of the greenshoe to satisfy the extensive market demand.

After the listing, the public ownership structure remained essentially unchanged, with the exception of capital increases reserved for public shareholders of the companies that the Group managed to consolidate year after year, through the original organisational model.

The subsequent mergers of several surrounding organisations brought the total enterprise value to almost €1 billion. The mergers also involved multi-utility companies like Geat of Rimini (which took place in the same year as the listing on the Stock Exchange, Agea of Ferrara in 2004, Meta of Modena in 2005, Sat of Sassuolo in 2006, Aspes of Pesaro in 2007 and the acquisition of 25% of Aimag, operating in the province of Modena, in 2009. These transactions led the Group, which began its operations in five provinces in the region, to cover 70% of Emilia-Romagna, continuously and evenly, crossing over the borders in the north of Le Marche.

The mergers and acquisitions made the management of the initial integration process more coordinated, but simultaneously led to a creation of value through the synergy and rationalisation of activities throughout the entire last ten-year period.

The single management of all the territories covered (through the implementation of the original organisational model), with the management of personnel, acquisitions, finance and control, planning, legal affairs and operational management concentrated in a single business holding, made it possible to undertake corporate rationalisation measures, with the sale of more than 60 associate companies/businesses deemed not strategic, standardisation of procedures and operations, as well as standardising information systems. This contributed to transforming the collection of businesses into an efficient and integrated Group.

Organisation also underwent a gradual transformation in response to the different competitive dynamics of the markets and led the Group to the unbundling of activities (corporate separation of various activities), without, however, weakening either the synergic links between the various activities or the close bond between the Group and the reference territories.

Total investments

Over 10 years the Group has supported development with gross investments of over €3.74 billion in infrastructures in the territory, extending and improving the efficiency of plants dedicated to all activities relating to primary services and customers, as well as improving safety and environmental sustainability. The Group has been strongly committed to expansion and investment activities throughout the period, which has involved more than 86% of total EBITDA produced over ten years.

Hera’s development over the decade has, through efficiency measures, investment and corporate mergers, allowed it to consolidate competitive advantages in all core businesses, gaining the leading position in terms of efficiency and size in Italy. The Group has also promoted growth in electricity sales (originally managed by the Group in the Imola area only) at a faster rate than any other company, encompassing various regions in Italy. Market research has also shown that, as far as customer satisfaction is concerned, there have been constant improvements made, culminating in “complete satisfaction” for the large majority of the customer base.

Hera has maintained a risk-averse approach throughout this period of development, opting, in the various changes in the scenario and in the choices for emerging development opportunities, for a balanced and prudent reinforcement of both regulated activities and liberalised activities, without ever going after speculative or short-term options. This path has led to linear growth, without changes to the strategic route over the ten-year period, which has allowed the Group to gain ground in all reference markets, without interruption, achieving prominent, defensible positions.