13.03.2018 | Axpo tops the "Energy Risk" survey again
The Olympic Winter Games 2018 are history and Switzerland, nonetheless, had cause to celebrate with 5 gold medals. Axpo recently got to rejoice over a few more: Our energy traders were awarded nine gold medals in this year's survey by the trade magazines "Risk" and "Energy Risk”. Domenico De Luca, Head of Trading & Sales, on the successful ranking in the "international customer business Olympics".
Domenico, last year you made an analogy to football and said that Axpo had made it into the "Champions League of Traders" in the "Risk" and "Energy Risk" rankings. How do you see things this time around?
Domenico De Luca: Being at the top among the best is not just a goal for an athlete, whether it's football or winter sports - it's also what motivates us as business people. We want to perform well, satisfy our customers, and contribute to the financial success of the entire Axpo Group. That we achieved such high ranks again in this renowned survey is truly great because the award comes from our customers and partners.
They really seem to be happy with Axpo.
The customers and business partners seem to value our work. We make big efforts in order to understand their needs and try to offer the best service and products that fit them.
Sounds logical and simple.
Logical yes, but by no means simple. It's clear to me: This would all be impossible if we didn't have the right experts with their comprehensive know-how in the individual countries. They know their domestic markets well and work very hard to gain the trust of the customers. This includes the Front Office, the Back Office, the Mid Office, the Risk Teams, IT, Legal and all other support functions. They all worked very hard and made this possible. I thank them so much for that.
Will Axpo further develop its international presence?
Yes, absolutely. To put it in sports lingo: We have a very good starting point in many markets so that we can strive for more medals. For example in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland, we want to increase the number of delivery points for power and gas in the retail business; in the West European markets we want to expand significantly our renewable energy business; and in the LNG (liquefied natural gas) area we have the potential for a stronger global presence.
Now that you mention global: Does global also mean entering more markets outside Europe?
There are currently no concrete plans to develop in other countries, but of course we must not forget that in our newest market, the USA, we are planning to geographically expand activities. The USA is huge and the energy landscape is relatively scattered. Up to now we have been mainly concentrating on the East Coast. The conclusion of the first origination contract in Texas a few weeks ago indicates that there is more potential. The focus is also directed to other market regions such as the Midwest.
According to the survey, Axpo is the number 1 in power trading in the world, in Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Europe, Spain and Italy - and what's more the leader in gas trading in Italy. There were also a number of other top rankings. How do you keep track with so many categories?
(Laughs) Axpo is today present in 28 countries and active in 39 markets. We have grown our business relentlessly and organically in the last 18 years. The fact that we reached top rankings in so many countries is the result of a long-term strategy – and apparently a very sustainable one.
What the members of the Axpo Trading Management Board have to say about the successful ranking in the "Risk" and "Energy Risk" survey:
David Brunner, Head Core Market Trading: (Laughs) "Unfortunately there is no Swiss category in the survey. I would be interested to see how we would do in our home market. I am going to ask if they would take this up for next year. But all joking aside: Of course, I am very happy for my colleagues in the other countries. Success is always achieved in a team, and should also be celebrated as such."
Simone Demarchi, Managing Director Axpo Italia: "The fact that we are the number 1 in power and gas trading in Italy is a great acknowledgement for our work. We want to keep this up in the future by satisfying our customers: Major customers like Unilever that will be procuring wind power from us, or the many end customers that we supply with power and gas through the partnership with Coop Italia."
Domenico Franceschino, Head Origination West & East Europe: "Various subsidiaries that were ranked number 1 belong to my area of responsibility. This is very pleasing, and it's also motivation for the future. We have a lot of plans: We want to increase gas and power deliveries, expand our market volume in the area of renewable energies, and use opportunities that offer stronger demand for risk management solutions."
Håkon Røhne, Managing Director Axpo Nordic: "Lots of customers in Scandinavia and the Baltics know that we are a first-class address. We have made a name for ourselves here over the past years. I see more potential in the origination business with renewable energies. Our focus is on wind where we want to be and remain the number 1 in Northern Europe.
Marco Saalfrank, Head Continental Europe Merchant Trading: "Since we became active in the LNG area worldwide, Axpo is often mentioned for its strong role in gas trading. Financial year 2016/17 was a very good one for us. We have a strong team and are in an excellent position to achieve further success in the world markets. Our special focus in on Asia."
Ignacio Soneira, Managing Director Axpo Iberia: "It's great to be number 1 again. It confirms that developments on the Iberian Peninsula are heading in the right direction. We are continuously developing new business fields that open new customer segments. An example is the recently concluded solar PPA in Portugal: It is only thanks to Axpo that the construction and financing of the project is possible. We will be making more deals like this in the future and want to play a leading role here."
Every year, the trade magazines "Risk" and "Energy Risk" ask some 1,500 market players and customers to assess counter-parties in energy trading according to criteria such as price, flexibility, market-making, reliability, integrity and processing speed. Over the past years, Axpo has regularly figured among the top ranks in the individual categories.