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Share performance on the Stock Exchange and shareholder relations

During the first semester of 2013, the stock recorded the market performance illustrated in the following chart, which shows a performance of +18.7% (passing from 1.22€ at the end of 2012 to 1.4519€ at 29 June 2013), exceeding the equity market (-5.4%) and continuing the upwards trend shown in 2012. The share performance also showed greater stability than the Italian local-utilities index, which recorded a performance of +36.9% in 2013, a recovery with respect to the notable negative oscillations of the previous financial year.

Share performance

Despite the persistence of both political and financial macro-economic difficulties, the Hera stock, supported by a revaluation of the local utilities sector and thanks also to the good 2012 annual results published at the end of March, maintained a positive performance in the first part of the year. The better performance also coincided with the good outcome of the OPAS on Acegas Aps, which allowed the company delisting procedure to begin, which was brought to conclusion during the first semester of 2013.

Today, public shareholders are represented by 189 reference territory municipalities holding 61.0% of Hera's ordinary share capital, made up of 1,342,876,078 ordinary shares. The number of shares increased during the semester by 227,862,324, among which 143,380,7651 shares assigned to the Municipalities of Trieste and Padua, against the merger with Acegas Aps Holding S.r.l., with effect from 1 January 2013. The remainder (84,481,673 shares) was assigned to the Acegas Aps private shareholders who endorsed the OPAS. Following these non-recurring transactions, the Hera Group gained complete control of Acegas Aps ordinary shares, whose share was, consequently, delisted from the Italian Stock Exchange.

Since 2006, Hera has conducted a buyback programme of treasury shares with a maximum of 15 million shares, for a total amount of €60 million. This programme aims to finance any opportunities to buy small companies and to rectify any unusual movements in the Group's share price compared to its major domestic competitors.
The Shareholders' Meeting held on 30 April 2013 renewed the treasury share purchase plan for a further18 months, for a maximum overall amount of €40 million and a maximum of 25 million shares. Hera held approximately 13.8 million treasury shares in its portfolio as at 30 June 2013.
Over the course of the last ten years, shareholders remuneration has always shown constant or increasing dividends, even at the most delicate times during the macro-economic crisis of recent years. The Board of Directors' proposal, submitted to and approved by the Shareholders' Meeting, is a dividend per share of 9 euro cents.

Dividends approved (ml€)27.642.
DPS (€)0.0350.0530.0570.0700.0800.0800.0800.0800.0900.0900.090

The Group has, from its listing, promoted and increased relations with financial analysts to ensure investors have a plurality of independent opinions. Over time, this coverage has increased to 15 studies, with international brokers such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. The financial crisis of recent years has caused profound restructurings in the banks, reducing the number of the Hera stock studies to 7 (in the last 2 years the studies of Banca Aletti, Banca IMI, Centrobanca, Deutsche Bank, Exane, Merrill Lynch, Mediobanca, Sogen and Unicredit were interrupted); despite this, Hera still enjoys a “coverage”, among the widest of the local-utilities sector: Alpha Value, Banca Akros, Citi, Equita, ICBPI, Intermonte and KeplerCheuvreux. At the end of the semester, Hera enjoys a balance between “Buy”/”Outperform” valuations and “Hold/Neutral” opinions and there were no negative opinions. The 12-18 month average stock target price, expressed by analyst evaluations, is around €1.63 per share. The Hera stock is included in many “SRI” indices: in fact, it has formed part of the “Kempen SNS Smaller Europe SRI Index” for years. In 2008, it was also included in the “ECPI Euro Ethical Index”. In 2009, it was included in the “ECPI EMU Ethical Index”, consisting of 150 companies with sustainability characteristics consistent with the “ECPI SRI” methodology and listed on the European Union economic/monetary market. The Group’s main means of communication with shareholders and stakeholders is its website www.gruppohera.it. During the last ten years, the section dedicated to shareholders/financial operators (“Investor Relations” section) has seen continuous improvement. For the fourth consecutive year, Hera’s on-line financial communication rose onto the podium of the domestic Webranking classification, styled by KWD, relating to the major domestic listed companies: in 2012, the Group's site in fact conquered second place, positioning itself ahead of many larger Italian concerns and was the best communication instrument of the Italian utilities. Since its establishment in 2002, Hera has placed special emphasis on direct communication with investors, culminating in a Road Show introducing the stock in Italy and abroad (United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United States). Hera organised meetings with European and American investors in the first semester of 2013, maintaining a number of contacts in line with previous years. Timeliness of reports and communication transparency was also maintained in the first part of the 2013 financial year, as a response to the growing uncertainty perceived by the stakeholders in this time of profound systematic discontinuity that our country is still passing through.