Brisa complied with the mission it had set forth for this year: it strengthened its financial and operating soundness, and boosted the development of a new positioning and offer in the mobility sector totally focused on people.
Financial and Operating Strength
Traffic evolved in line with the trend of the last few years, growing in all road concessions relative to 2015, to the sustainable levels recorded before the economic adjustment period which Portugal had to undergo. Growth in traffic drove an improvement in financial results. Net income totalled Euro 256 million, income grew by 5.3% and consolidated operating costs remained stable, with a positive impact on operating results (EBITDA), which rose to Euro 484 million. Our main financial goal was thus achieved, despite our continued investment in improving the network. Cash generation (EBITDA-CAPEX) grew by 6.6%, standing at Euro 426 million.
The continued favourable evolution of this and other indicators, such as the weight of debt (Net Financial Debt/EBITDA fell to 4.2x), on a par with the credit ratings given to Brisa Concessão Rodoviária (BCR) by Fitch Ratings and Moody’s, which have kept stable at investment grade level and above Portugal’s rating, clearly attest to Brisa's financial soundness. In non-financial areas, as for instance in the environmental area, Brisa’s performance must be highlighted for the stability of consumption indicators, namely electricity (-3.7%), fuel (-1.4%) and water (-11.6%) consumption. While reinforcing our financial solidity, we continued to strengthen our already mature operations and assets, namely Brisa Operação e Manutenção or the Atlântico Concession, and remaining concessions and sub-concessions. With regard to the latter, it is important to mention the ongoing restructuring processes at Douro Litoral concession and Litoral Centro concession - where arbitration proceedings resulted in significant compensation, and the renegotiation processes of Baixo Tejo and Litoral Oeste concessions, both recording remarkable operating performance. The year was also marked by the agreement for the disposal of our investment in Northwest Parkway, in the USA, which had a significant and positive impact on Brisa’s 2016 results.
Dynamism and Transformation of the Business
The digital world, the increasing affirmation of individual choices, the integration of different transport modes, cooperative business models and the sharing economy are Brisa’s key drivers in this new era towards individual mobility. Accordingly, we have invested in technology and new mobility services. Our top priority continues to be our customers. Customer relationship is a crucial element in our value chain. Hence, we undertook an in-depth review of our services, to ensure a stronger and closer relationship. Improving the customer’s experience involved the introduction of several innovations, from the creation of Via Verde Contact to new digital channels and the enhancement of selfcare. Meanwhile, we continued developing an integrated supply of Via Verde products and services, which are increasingly part of the daily life of the Portuguese. The number of Via Verde on-board units has reached 3.3 million in 2016, and the number of subscribers has doubled in relation to 2014. The “Via Verde Leve” product launched in 2016 for non-frequent customers is an example of the work that is being developed. At the same time, the Via Verde Mobilidade project is starting to see the light, with the launching of the Via Verde Estacionar service in several Portuguese cities and the deployment of other urban mobility-related pilot projects. Projects in the field of shared mobility and advanced mobility have also recorded consistent progress and are raising high expectations for 2017. It is very important to mention the work developed by Brisa Inovação e Tecnologia (BIT), namely a new market positioning, offer and brand focused on technology solutions in the new Mobility-as-a-Service sector.
Focus on People
This dynamic is reflected on the Group’s relationship with its customers and remaining stakeholders, as attested by the performance of Brisa and Via Verde brands in different reputational and image indicators. We have focused our attention on our customers but did not overlook other groups of people that are very important to us. Namely, employees play a crucial role in the company’s growth and future as they are the ones maintaining the closest relationship with the company. Training and safety conditions at work are among our prime concerns. With regard to the latter, we recorded no fatal accidents again this year and the number of occupational accidents continues to fall. Major national causes, particularly road safety and social development are also Brisa major causes. Improvement in road safety in the group’s concessions is a stated objective. At a time when traffic increased, accident rates with fatalities and serious injuries fell by 37.1% and 30.3% respectively. Local communities are also very important to Brisa. In this field, Brisa increased its civic action, namely through donations, volunteer work and in the specific field of road accident prevention.
Evolution in the Reporting Model
Brisa is publishing this year its first Integrated Report, aligned with the global challenges and commitments of the decade, namely the Sustainable Development Objectives and the principles of the UN Global Compact. This document, which was prepared according to the directives proposed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), aims to meet the expectations of our stakeholders in what concerns information on the strategy, management and performance of the company’s main business vectors, from the double perspective of risk management and creation of sustainable value. 2016 was a year of progress for Brisa, aligned with the company’s values and vision, and we are confident that we will be able to face and fulfil the major challenges of 2017.
Vasco de Mello,