07.02.2019 | A day with Johannes Pretel at E-world

Originator, amplificator

E-world, day 3; Meetings per day: 8 – Johannes Pretel, Co-Head of Origination for Axpo Germany, has his hands full in Hall 3 of the most important energy fair in Europe. This exhibition is a "home game" for him: Throughout the year it is never so easy to meet his European customers as it is at E-world.

Thursday, 9.33 a.m., an exciting atmosphere and a constant noise level. Visitors have arrived at the fair early on this last day. One of them is Johannes. White shirt, dark suit. Alert and full of energy he strides toward the Axpo stand for the first meeting of the day.

Nothing goes without networking

He is early for his first meeting although he got to bed late the night before. He met with customers at an Axpo customer event – in an informal setting for once. In his profession networking is everything: "Ultimately we originators depend on our customers and our network for the business we acquire. So, it's important to be up to date on what's happening in the market. "Only when we understand the concerns and problems of our customers and trading partners can we offer them the best solution," explains the 37-year old.

Home game

For Johannes Pretel this fair is a home game since it is practically at his front door. This is the 11th time that Johannes, who hails from Düsseldorf, is at the fair. In his work as an originator, it is never this easy to get together with customers as it is at E-world. So, his Outlook calendar for the three days in Essen is packed: An average of eight customer meetings per day. "I can meet with existing distributors or customers from the industry and public utilities in a short time. Normally this would require a great deal of travel time. Of course, with so many meetings we can't get too detailed – that can be done in follow-up meetings. I get an update from my customers and I can maintain my network," says Johannes. And E-world offers him the opportunity for informal exchanges with his contacts – a component not be forgotten.

What the customer wants

A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a procurement contract for green electricity, and according to Johannes, it has been a particularly successful product in origination for some time. Axpo has many years of experience in this area. Customers increasingly want green electricity and this is once again an important topic at this year's fair. "We see a current trend where industrial end users want to conclude physical supply agreements for several years with, for example, a wind farm," says Johannes.

However, PPA is not the only thing customers need. That's exactly what makes his job so interesting: "As an originator at Axpo we have an unbelievable diversity of products and services that we can offer our customers. We are not restricted to a commodity or a product, and we can handle various topics and markets."

Time flies

Time flies with so many meetings and discussions. The fair will be over soon and Johannes can begin planning follow-up discussions with customers.

"I identified a few interesting projects at E-world and now I will involve the right traders, portfolio managers and the various risk departments as well as our legal staff. Johannes is pleased, "That's how discussions at E-world turn into final contracts." Axpo's presence at this year's fair was a success for him: "Axpo awareness in Germany is growing steadily. You can see it at the Axpo stand: More people, more interest."

This is how Johannes explains his job as an originator

"Origination is somewhere in between traditional sales and trading. Of course, we try to multiply good products and ideas via our contacts and sales channels, which is close to traditional sales. The difference to sales lies in the fact that we do not pursue any sales targets because we want to generate margin not volume, and we earn our money by defining and adapting our ideas for each customer in consideration of the current market conditions. We rarely sell the same idea more than once without any adaptations.

Unlike in trading, although we often use standardised products, they are usually only a part of a more complex, individual product structured to the customer. Furthermore, we don't speculate on uncertain market developments, but instead, try to take over the risk for our customers and manage this profitably with the help of our traders and quantitative analysts."

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