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Introduction

This year will be the tenth anniversary of Hera Group which will be celebrated with a half-year report once again dedicated to both economic and financial growth. It makes an important statement, taking into consideration the continuing crisis which has led to almost all the main players in the industry, even the largest ones, suffering financial stress and needing to seriously rethink their strategies.

It is in this context that the continued, uninterrupted growth throughout this decade is announced, which also features great challenges: local public services liberalisation processes, legislative developments in all primary services. Recent years have seen the serious crisis in the banking and finance system, culminating in the sovereign debt crisis that has greatly affected Italy. This crisis makes it difficult to fully realise the entire potential of the business portfolio and is causing businesses in the industry to have to implement radical restructuring processes.

The results achieved by the Group have managed to satisfy the best expectations of those who, in 2002, pursued the forward-looking plan of uniting 11 council-owned companies, in the hope of bringing together the valuable business cultures and strong territorial links against a background of serious disruption.

The strategy pursued over these years has kept faith with the original idea of applying a business approach to the management of public services, using a model which guarantees continuous development through both internal and external growth levers. Over the years Hera has integrated many Companies which lead to important contributions to Ebitda. This has taken place owing to efficiencies, a prudent investment policy and a perseverant management of business activities. These results have allowed the Group to consolidate its foundations and deal with the macroeconomic and financial crisis, which is even affecting an industry like utilities, which is traditionally anti-cyclical.

Hera Group is celebrating its 10th anniversary with positive 2012 half-year financial statements and with a further development which is, perhaps, the most important since it was established: on 28 August 2012 the Hera Board of Directors approved the aggregation project with Acegas Aps, a company with a value of production of more than €500 million and EBITDA of €118 million. This transaction expands the reference market, with the Group controlling four of the richest regions in Italy. Prospects for growth along the same lines of development that Hera has followed since its establishment are also on the increase.