The net profit of the Czech utility company ČEZ fell by 60% to CZK 10.8 billion in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year, the company announced on Thursday. However, operating revenues increased by 23% to CZK 93.4 billion. The company plans to pay a record-high dividend of CZK 117 per share from last year’s record profit.
The company’s operating profit was CZK 32.5 billion, down by CZK 11.1 billion from the first quarter of last year. ČEZ explained the decrease was mainly due to the extraordinary gains in 2022 amounting to over CZK 10 billion, resulting from the extreme rise and fluctuations in commodity prices after the military invasion of Russia on Ukraine, liquidity measures, and the record commodity trading profit last year.
In 2022, the company earned a profit of CZK 78.4 billion, of which the company paid a windfall tax on unexpected profits. The general meeting of shareholders will decide on the dividend’s amount. “The Q1 results align with our expectations and reflect a gradual stabilization in energy markets. The ČEZ Board of Directors approved a dividend proposal of CZK 117 per share, representing 80% of the achieved consolidated profit,” said ČEZ CEO Daniel Beneš.
The Czech state is the majority shareholder in ČEZ. According to the company’s estimates, ČEZ should pay the state a total of CZK 100 billion in taxes and dividends this year. Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s government is considering using part of the expected CZK 100 billion revenue from ČEZ to help ease high prices, fund highway construction, and increase defense spending.
ČEZ is one of the largest companies in the Czech Republic, providing electricity and heat to millions of households and businesses. Despite the drop in profits, the company’s stock has been stable, with a slight decline of 0.26% on Thursday, which is a sign of investors’ confidence in the company’s future performance. ČEZ is investing heavily in renewable energy and expanding its presence in the European market, which should provide new revenue streams in the long term.