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Distribution of dividends

In its mission, Hera has stated its intention to guarantee continuous creation of value for its shareholders, offering suitable return on capital invested.
As a result of the pursuit of growth strategies along all lines of development since its inception, and the numerous activities to enhance operating, Hera has achieved positive economic-financial results which constantly increase, also allowing the Group to distribute dividends to shareholders, demonstrating the profitability and security of their investments.
2011 was an unusual year due to the challenging macroeconomic environment which, since late 2008, has impacted financial markets even in the most advanced countries: despite the effects of the crisis in terms of a decrease in demand, Hera was able to continue the growth strategies set forth in its Business Plan, to reach the set targets and keep the promises made in previous years.
In this context, the Group in fact closed extremely positive financial statements with operating results on the up, going against the trend with respect to expectations for the sector in Europe. These results, together with a standardisation of growth investments (consequent to completion of a long-term plant expansion project) supported a positive cash flow generation, a rise in financial returns and maintenance of a sound and sustainable financial structures judged by international brokers as among the best in the sector in Italy. These results have permitted the Board of Directors to propose to the shareholders' meeting which will approve the annual financial statements, the distribution of a dividend in line with the previous year once again confirming the promises made to the investors despite the lasting economic crisis underway.

Distribution of dividends
200920102011
Earnings per share (Euro cents)8.710.59.4
Dividend per share (Euro cents)8.09.09.0
Price/earnings18.614.911.7

The price/earnings ratio expresses the relationship between the official share price as at 31 December divided by Group earnings per share. 2009 does not consider the effects of the tax moratorium.

The economic- financial results illustrated previously demonstrate the soundness of Hera's multi-business approach which protects the results also from situations of serious macro-economic crisis such as the current one, setting itself against the trend with respect to the rest of the sector. The results are also the fruit of corporate policies aimed at reducing and effectively handling the risks, which strengthen the conservative profile of the portfolio of assets managed.
The Hera Group has reached an operating, competitive and dimensional structure of primary standing further to the significant growth achieved in the last 10 years based on modern, efficient plants able to support the further commercial expansion envisioned in the corporate plans. During the year, activities continued, for boosting the efficiency of operating units, and, in addition to the usual maintenance investments, plant development investments were made for amounts more "ordinaries". In comparison with 2010 net income must be considered an extraordinary tax benefit recorded in 2010; net of which would be an increase in 2011 net profit of around +5.3%. The financial results also disclose who operations have been able to generate resources to cover the investments and create a financial surplus continuing the 2010 positive trend and confirming the full capability to cover the plane for future investments described in the Business Plan.