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Hera is the leading domestic operator in the environment sector by quantity of waste collected and treated.
Waste collection, regulated by concession contracts, has expanded over the years through subsequent company mergers, and now covers all of the areas from Modena to Pesaro-Urbino. Thanks to both a constant rise in customer awareness and the support of local institutions, Hera's waste collection system is based on recycling the majority (over 50%) of waste materials (glass, paper, plastic, metals and biomasses) and on the valorisation of the energy content of the remaining part, using waste-to-energy production and extraction of biogases.
This efficient system has made a considerable contribution to the decrease in the amount of urban waste disposed of directly in landfills, thereby reducing soil pollution.

Waste treatment and disposal activities have benefited over time from significant expansion and renovation of the asset base. A multi-year plan for modernising 7 WTE plants was completed in 2011. In 2013, the plant base is being enriched with 3 additional WTEs: one in Trieste, one in Padua (with the aggregation of Acegas Aps), and one WTE in Molise (Energonut, acquired from Veolia during the course of the previous financial year). Furthermore, the Group has begun procedures to request authorisation for the construction of a WTE in Florence. Hera's asset base has also been enriched and completed by other types of plants for biomass treatment and selection of material coming from separate waste collection. Today's asset of over 80 plants (excluding the contribution of Acegas Aps), which is able to satisfy requests for treatment and optimisation of any kind of waste, represents one of the Group's points of excellence on a national scale, and has supported the considerable expansion in volume of activity over the decade, satisfying complex needs in disposal and decontamination of production sites.
With a generation of over 0.7 TWh the Group has became one of the leading operators committed to the recovery of electricity from waste.
In order to best rationalise its activities, in 2010 Hera established Herambiente, to which all the liberalised waste disposal, treatment and recovery operations were transferred. In the same year, the Group opened the shareholding structure of Herambiente in the same year to the Eiser infrastructure investment fund, thus ensuring financial support for future development. Integration with Acegas Aps further reinforced the Group's leadership in the sector with an expansion of its range of action, given that the bases situated in the North-East of the country give Hera greater competitive strength in those markets.

Since its establishment, Hera has also operated in integrated water service management, from the distribution of drinking water to collection and purification of waste water, and has the exclusive right to these services in seven provinces of Emilia-Romagna and the north of the Marche, on the basis of long-term concessions (on average until 2023).

Following the mergers that have taken place since its establishment, and the physiological development of the activities and investments carried out, the Group, excluding the contribution of Acegas Aps, has substantially doubled its customers, strengthened its purification plants, expanded its distribution and drainage system networks by roughly 10 thousand linear km and increased its business volume by an average annual rate of 4%. The water network, like all Group networks, is currently controlled by a single remote control system created in 2007 and deemed to be one of the most advanced in Europe. Remote monitoring of networks has made it possible to optimise maintenance and supervision processes, ensuring greater efficiency and lower running costs. Thanks to these systems and the modernisation of the networks, recorded performance (in terms of average leaks per kilometre of network) has been counted among the nation's most efficient.
The entire system of environmental control, from the analysis of water before distribution, to the collection and purification systems for waste water, has shown major progress and guaranteed a high quality of service and maximum customer safety.
The Group is the second largest operator in Italy by volume of sales, with a continuous and extensive presence in the reference market. Following the aggregation with Acegas Aps, Hera reached 1.44 million users in the sector.
At the end of the financial year, the AEEG Authority defined a transitory tariff system for 2012-2013, which put an end to the regulatory uncertainty of the last 18 months. The fundamental principles of the tariff system allow the plant modernisation and activity development plan to continue with greater ease.
The Group covers the reference territory almost completely in the gas sector as well. This includes services in distribution and in methane gas sales and trading, as well as district heating management. Hera is currently among the leading "local" firms, and the third nationally in terms of sales volume. In spite of the liberalisation of the sales market, the Group has maintained and developed its original customer base, reaching 1.12 million users, in other words almost doubling it in ten years, thanks to a series of mergers. The contribution of Acegas Aps permits a significant further widening of the customer base; its openings in interesting new markets (such as those of North-East Italy) will take the Group to the third place in the Italian market as early as 1 January 2013, with over 1.5 million customers.
Sales have also more than doubled over time, bringing the volumes handled to over 3.5 billion cubic metres. The distribution network, developed through direct investment and the acquisition of companies, has reached 14 thousand km. Acegas Aps also brings an important contribution of asset bases that allow the Group to look optimistically towards future tenders for gas distribution concessions in all reference areas.
The unstable situation of energy markets has led the Group to follow prudent and flexible procurement policies, seizing the opportunities deriving from the slow process of opening the possibility of importing raw materials, and of the development of the Italian and international wholesale market. Hera has a multi-year capacity of gas importation that reaches almost 500 million cubic metres per annum, through the TAG gas pipeline (Russian gas). It has also gradually diversified internal (domestic) sources, striving for maximum flexibility through annual agreements (multi-year contracts currently cover 10% of overall supplies). Lastly, there has been an organisational redistribution that has led to the establishment of a sales company (Heracomm) and a trading company (Heratrading), thanks to which Hera has launched its own direct operations on a number of European hubs. This asset of Hera's supply portfolio has protected it from the risks derived from "pre-determinate" material purchase commitments many years in advance.
The volume of sales relating to district heating has also almost doubled in the last 10 years; as is well known, this is a way of transforming energy into heat more efficiently and with less impact on the environment than independent home heating systems.
The district heating network has been developed in various urban areas across the territory, including near the large waste-to-energy and cogeneration plants built in the last ten years, thereby exploiting heat sources that would otherwise not be used.

The "dual fuel" commercial strategy has allowed the electricity market to be developed at a sustained rate of growth, both through activities of cross-selling to existing customers and through expansion into new markets. This strategy has been capable of defending existing customers in the gas sector, as previously shown (and achieving important domestic market shares), with annual sales of roughly 10 TWh, on a base - that has increased tenfold - of over 560 thousand customers (733 thousand customers including the contribution of Acegas Aps).

Commercial development in the electricity sector has been accompanied by a parallel cautious development in electricity generation, for a sustainable management of customer demand. Over the years, Hera has been involved in the construction of two new generation base-load CCGT plants in Campania (an area with a poor infrastructure), with a capacity of 1,200 MW installed.
In this field, since its establishment the Group has held an investment in Tirreno Power, through Energia Italiana, equivalent to 5.5% of share capital.
These plants have been created through joint ventures with the purchase of minority stakes by foreign partners of international standing. Some mention should also go to the acquisition of 32% of Tamarete Energia, a company based in Ortona (CH) that in 2013 completed construction of a combined cycle plant with 104 MW installed.

A 80 MW gas cogeneration plant was completed in Imola in 2008, which ensures self-sufficiency for the province in the event of a national grid blackout. Lastly, Hera's generation equipment saw the development of over 110MW of clean energy from incineration plants, a further 13 MW from biomass waste-to-energy plants, as well as the recent development of small biogas and photovoltaic generation plants, which complete the diversified portfolio of the Group's sources.
Hera continues to be an operator with a relatively contained presence in generation activities; the greater part of the demand for electricity from end customers is in fact prevalently covered by a widely diversified portfolio of bilateral supply contracts and by activities in market trading.
Electricity distribution had seen major development ever since Hera's establishment; the merger with the Modena multi-utility Meta Spa in 2005, and the acquisition of Enel's electrical network in the province of Modena, contributed to the expansion of the grid until it reached a dimension of almost 10 thousand kilometres that, thanks to the investments made, is completely equipped with electronic meters and managed remotely by a single technologically advanced remote control centre. The contribution resulting from the Acegas Aps aggregation is important in this sector as well, in particular for the commercial development potentiality that these markets can offer to the integrated status of the dimensions of the new Group.