Nearly 400 guests attended Landsvirkjun’s Annual Meeting at the Hilton Nordica Hotel on the 14th of April, 2016. The title of the meeting was ‘Natural Resources and Responsibility’ and the event concluded with a lively debate.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Bjarni Benediktsson, discussed Iceland’s monetary reserves, a topic he first mentioned in last year’s Annual Meeting. These reserves would be built on dividends from Landsvirkjun and other state- owned energy companies. He described the success of a cross- party meeting where a broad consensus was reached with regard to the idea that the continued development of the country should be accompanied by the setting aside of reserves to smooth out fluctuations and strengthen the country’s economic position.
He also stated that he had recommended the appointment of two committees to the government; a committee of three given the responsibility of developing a proposal for a parliamentary bill on the monetary reserve and a cross- party committee of parliamentary members to deliver its opinion on the monetary reserve committee’s proposal.
Jónas Þór Guðmundsson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, emphasised the strong financial position of Landsvirkjun in his speech. He highlighted the fact that operations had been successful in the last few years and stated the following:
Cash flow has been strong and net debts have been reduced by over 107 billion since 2010. The equity ratio is now higher than it was in the first few years of Company operations, or almost 45%. Cash flow from operations has supported investment in recent years which is a prerequisite for reducing debt. The emphasis remains firmly on reducing debt.
Hörður Arnarson, CEO and Ragna Árnadóttir, Deputy CEO delivered a presentation focusing on the responsibility of utilising natural resources. They highlighted the fact that Landsvirkjun employees were conscious of the national importance of the Company and the various responsibilities that come with this. Hörður Arnarson reflected on how Landsvirkjun has in recent years focused on maximising the yield and value of the natural resources it has been entrusted with and has managed to reduce its net debts by 107 billion since 2010. He also stated that the continuance of this trend could result in a substantial increase in the pay out of dividends to the Company’s owners in the next two to three years.
Ragna Árnadóttir outlined Landsvirkjun’s commitment to the sustainable utilisation of the natural resources that the Company has been entrusted with. She also placed an emphasis on the fact that sustainability should include an analysis of the economic and social effects of protection and utilisation. of tourists have a positive attitude towards renewable energy.
They also both placed an emphasis on the idea that energy generation and tourism could coexist successfully and presented the results of a new Gallup poll among foreign tourists, which showed that 97% of them were positive towards renewable energy resources in Iceland. The idea that utilisation and protection could in fact work together was also addressed.