In 2021, the activity of the core enterprise of the Stalexport Autostrady S.A. Group - the A4 Katowice-Kraków motorway - continued to be shaped by the persisting COVID-19 pandemic. However, compared to 2020, the Group ended the year 2021 with a 24% growth in sales revenue and a 4% growth in net profit. Investment projects intended to reduce transaction time and improve the capacity of toll plazas on the A4 Katowice-Kraków motorway were continued in 2021.
In 2021, the Stalexport Autostrady Capital Group generated revenue amounting to approx. PLN 360.2 million. As revenue grew, net profit also increased by nearly PLN 4 million, reaching the amount of approx. PLN 95.4 million. EBITDA of the Capital Group amounted to approx. PLN 205.6 million, i.e. 29.2 percent more than in 2020.
Net profit grew at a slower rate primarily due to own costs of sales, which increased by 30.3 percent compared to 2020 mainly due to an increase in the costs of depreciation/amortization from PLN 58.8 million to PLN 80.2 million. General and administrative expenses also increased by 12.4 percent, up to the amount of PLN 113.5 million, primarily due to the higher amount of “Payments to the State Treasury”, which in 2021 amounted to PLN 63.2 million (PLN 44.6 million in 2020). “Payments to the State Treasury” arise from the obligations of the concessionaire of the A4 Katowice-Kraków motorway, i.e. Stalexport Autostrada Małopolska S.A., set forth in the Concession Agreement, and represent the share of the State Treasury in profits from the motorway project.
Despite a constant increase in traffic intensity in subsequent months of 2021, average traffic intensity of approx. 42.9 thous. vehicles per day was still approx. 6 percent lower compared to the year before the pandemic, i.e. 2019, but 17.5 percent higher than in 2020. The traffic of passenger cars increased by 18.2 percent in 2021 compared to 2020 and amounted to approx. 35.2 thous. vehicles per day, whereas the traffic of heavy goods vehicles amounted to 7.6 thous. vehicles per day and was 14.6 percent higher than in 2020.
Toll revenue was 24.5 percent higher in 2021 compared to 2020 and amounted to PLN 355.7 million. Toll revenue generated by passenger cars amounted to PLN 224.7 million, i.e. increased by 31.3 percent compared to 2020, whereas toll revenue generated by heavy goods vehicles was 14.4 percent higher compared to 2020 and amounted to nearly PLN 131 million.
The higher growth rate of toll revenue compared to the growth rate of average daily traffic of vehicles resulted from: change of toll rate for passenger vehicles starting from 1 October 2020: from PLN 10 to PLN 12 in the case of regular rate and from PLN 7 to PLN 8 in the case of preferential rate for automatic payment method users, and toll rate changes introduced on 1 October 2021: change of preferential toll rate for personal vehicles from PLN 8 to PLN 9, raising toll rates for category 2 and 3 vehicles from PLN 20 to PLN 22, and elimination of preferential toll rates for heavy goods vehicles.
Despite difficulties arising from the economic situation during the pandemic, in 2021 the Stalexport Autostrady Capital Group continued to implement the investment programme which it is obligated to perform under the Concession Agreement. The amount of investment expenditures borne by the Group amounted to PLN 50.2 million, which is more than 20 percent higher compared to 2020, and included primarily construction work related to the drainage system of the section of the A4 Katowice-Kraków motorway in Małopolskie voivodeship, modernization of culverts under the motorway, and adjustment of the road system at access points to toll plazas.
Activities intended to reduce transaction time and improve the capacity of toll plazas on the A4 Katowice-Kraków motorway were also continued in the past year. Videotolling, i.e. toll collection based on licence plate recognition using mobile apps, has been expanded to include a new app, IKO of PKO Bank Polski, and additionally also integrated with ORLEN fleet cards. In January 2022, one more app was added - mPay. The organization of traffic at toll plazas was changed by enabling the opening of additional gates in each direction intended for automatic payments only, with more legible signage placed on these gates. External bank and fleet card readers have been installed on toll collector cabins. All of the aforementioned measures not only reduce transaction time, but also ensure the safety of motorway users in the age of coronavirus.
As regards the standalone financial results of Stalexport Autostrady, the year 2021 was closed with 7% higher sales revenue compared to 2020, amounting to PLN 3.7 million. Sales revenue originates primarily from the lease of office and parking spaces in the office building in Katowice. At the same time, the Company’s net profit was 63 percent lower compared to 2020 and amounted to PLN 57.7 million (PLN 157.6 million in 2020). Net income was affected primarily by the 62 percent decline in financial revenue of the Company, the largest item of which are received dividends (PLN 62.2 million in 2021 compared to PLN 164.1 million in 2020).
During the year 2021, the Stalexport Autostrady Capital Group has borne expenses for social purposes, making donations for causes related to healthcare for the elderly and critically ill from the Silesian region
Emil Wąsacz, CEO of the Management Board of Stalexport Autostrady S.A. and Stalexport Autostrada Małopolska S.A.:
Similarly as the year 2020, year 2021 passed in the shadow of economic and social uncertainty related to the emergence of subsequent waves of the Coronavirus pandemic as well as placement and removal of restrictions on the activities of a multitude of sectors of the economy, which also affected the operation of our most important enterprise - the A4 Katowice-Kraków motorway.
Hoping for a return to normalcy, we are not slowing down in terms of investment implementation, as this year it is expected that the amount of PLN 76.5 million will be expended for that purpose, with an additional PLN 72.4 million allocated for maintenance work. We will be slowly modernizing the motorway drainage system and culverts, we also plan to repair the road surface on motorway junction, refurbish certain bridge structures and noise barriers. Furthermore, we continue to focus on further development of the toll collection system at the A4 motorway section covered by the concession. We are also engaging in discussions with additional partners to further expand access to videotolling.