|Mrs Isabelle Kocher, Engie CEO|
ENGIE group is acquiring more and more US companies in energy efficiency sector.
Last week, after her presentation of the corporate financial statements, which may be deemed as lacklustre, Isabelle Kocher, Engie CEO, is touring the United States to prove that the turn taken by her company consists in a real commitment to change. « In this country, the change experienced by the company is the most obvious, as the United States are a blessed place for energetic transition,», she said when travelling in California. Even if the US share in the turnover hardly amounts to 50%, the company intends « to develop strongly there », she said, without giving any further detail.
Since several years, the company has been present in the US in the sector of generation and distribution of power, and now, the corporation is in the wake of changing its offer to improve BtoB services, which has been one of the aims of the late GDF Suez during its repositioning towards low-carbon activities. After selling hydraulic power stations, the company has just concluded the transfer of some 8,7 GW of thermal assets (mainly gas and cool) for an amount of USD3,3 billion, as the profitability of these activities sharply decreases, because of oil price drop and reduced volumes.
Energetic and digitized innovation
Considered as the European leader in services sectors, Engie intends « to bring a real know-how on an American market, divided among a multitude of local actors », says Franck Demaille, manager of the North America division. On a long-term perspective, Isabelle Kocher considers that « The American section may compete with our European activities, which amount to 80% of our revenues in the field of services".
The company intends particularly to take advantage of « the coupling between energetic innovation with digitized innovation », which is presently taking place on the West Coast, for instance in California. In that view, she has thus decided to implement the major part of her acquisition programme in this region.
In 2014, the company acquired Ecova, a company specialized in consultancy on energy economies. More than 700,000 sites owned by 700 customers B to B are plugged on Ecova data management centre platform, which gives advice on how to reduce one’s energy invoice. Then in 2015, Engie acquired Retroficiency, another software designer, which cross-checks the statements made by the smart meters with public data, in order to implement a « quick and advanced » audit, said Isabelle Kocher
In January 2016, the group added a new brick when buying out OpTerra, a company which has been implementing all the works necessary to reduce energy consumption since forty years. In May, Engie took control of 80% of Green Charge Networks, whose services consist in offering a management system to smooth battery consumption. Engie considers other purchases to increase its market share. Will the group be able to develop the profitability of these serial acquisitions? That’s the question as French companies often face a difficult challenge in California.
Anaïs Moutot, Les Echos