With reference to subsidiary Publiacqua S.p.A., as regards Ato 6 Ombrone, an important step was taken last October with the signing of the amendments to the service agreement, identified following long discussions between the parties, and aimed not only at providing the regulatory system with greater stability, but resolving some problems which hindered the process of structuring a long-term loan by the Area Plan.

More specifically, the criteria for performing the three-year review of the Area Plan were changed. The main changes made are as follows:

  • definition of criteria for the splitting of any greater efficiency between the operator and the regulatory (return of 50% to the tariff).
  • definition of the following methods of calculation of operating costs:
    • initial operating costs corresponding to the value of 2010 initial operating costs set out in the 2007 review discounted to 2010 levels on the basis of actual inflation,
    • deduction of 50% of higher efficiency realised in the 2007-2009 period,
    • consideration of operating costs (change of perimeter) relating to new operating activities, new normative and regulatory provisions or the management of new investments. Said costs are subject to adjustment during future reviews.
  • recognition in the tariff of credit losses of up to 2%,
  • expansion of the list of events which permit the implementation of the extraordinary tariff review procedure,
  • definition of mechanisms for the economic and financial re-balancing in the event of significant events,
  • insertion of a maximum limit on penalties applicable to the operator (2% yearly),
  • applicability of financial amortisation to extraordinary maintenance on third party assets,
  • maintenance of the management until payment of the end of concession indemnity (Terminal Value), in the event of both natural and early conclusion of the concession,
  • insertion of tariff adjustments in the calculation of the end of concession indemnity,
  • possibility for the operator to increase the annual k tariff provided in the area plan in the event of Authority inactivity,
  • greater flexibility in changing the investment plan, provided that defined objectives are reached.

On 17 December 2010, the general meeting of the Area Authority approved the 2010-2021 tariff development, determined on the basis of the review of the 2007-2009 Real Average Tariff. By means of resolution no. 17/2010 the Area Authority established the 2010 Real Average Tariff at 1.9329 euro per cubic metre.

By means of resolution no. 4 of 23 February 2011, published on 23 March 2011, the Board of Directors approved chapter 6 of the Area Plan containing the comments and illustration of the tables relating to the 2010-2021 tariff profile and preliminary tariff calculation tables and decided to postpone approval of the economic-financial plan pursuant to art. 149, paragraph 4 of Legislative Decree 152/2006, to a later resolution.

Through a merger of equals of Acque Ingegneria and Publiacqua Ingegnerie on 27 December 2010, Ingegnerie Toscane srl was formed, in which Publiacqua, Acque, Acquedotto del Fiora and ACEA are shareholders.

The company brings together the skills and expertise developed over the years, ensuring significant synergies both for the development of planning and works management activities in the water services field and in terms of acquiring higher operating efficiency margins.

As regards ATO 6 Ombrone, based on the management agreement signed on 28 December 2001, the operator (Acquedotto del Fiora) is to supply integrated water services on an exclusive basis in ATO 6, consisting of public services covering the collection, abstraction and distribution of water for civil use, sewerage and waste water treatment. 

The management agreement has a duration of twenty-five years from 1 January 2002

In August 2004, ACEA – via the vehicle, Ombrone SpA – completed its acquisition of a stake in the company.

The tariff review for the three-year period 2005-2007 was completed in November 2008. This established a new and more appropriate tariff profile, bringing the profile closer into line with the operator’s estimated volumes and introducing mechanisms providing improved guarantees of future revenues. Revision of the Area Plan was also completed at the same time, resulting in a slight increase in future investments.

In terms of financial position, Acquedotto del Fiora S.p.A proceeded with the implementation of a series of initiatives aimed at improving the collection of receivables from customers. The resulting procedures have been fully implemented.

As regards strictly financial aspects, with a view to improving the balance of funding sources-uses, the Operator is negotiating project financing in order to meet the company’s financial requirements until the end of the concession, ensuring the implementation of the entire Investment Plan.

While awaiting finalisation in September 2010, a new bridge loan of 80 million euros was taken out (expiring on 5 March 2012), of which 45 million euros used to refinance the previous bridge loan.