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The AES Corporation

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At a Glance
Uppers

Good pay and benefits.

Easy to move from department to department.

Downers

Too little recognition for performance.

Not much overtime.

The Bottom Line

The AES Corporation is a global leader, and with 29,000 employees in 29 countries, employees must be prepared to be a little fish in a big pond.

About The AES Corporation

The AES Corp. is a world power producer. The US-based company has interests in about 70 generation facilities in more than 15 countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. AES sells electricity to utilities and other energy marketers through wholesale contracts or on the spot market. AES also sells power directly to customers worldwide through stakes in distribution utilities, mainly in Latin America and the US. The US generates the biggest share of revenue and natural gas generates the biggest share of electricity.

Operations

AES operates more than 70 generation businesses across four continents and seven utility companies, primarily in Brazil and the US. Its portfolio generates more than 35,000 MW of power and its six utility businesses distribute power to about 2,5 million people. AES' two utilities in the US includes generation capacity of more than 12,500 MW at some 20 generation facilities.

In addition to traditional power generation and electric distribution businesses, AES owns and operates more than 9,000 MW of renewable generation, including hydro, wind, energy storage, solar, biomass, and landfill gas.

AES' reportable segments are: US Strategic Business Unit (SBU), about 30% of revenue; Andes SBU, about 25%; Brazil SBU, about 5%; MCAC (Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean) SBU, more than 20%; and Eurasia SBU, about 15%.

Geographic Reach

The US supplies about 30% of AES’ revenue, followed by Chile with about 20%. The other 15 or so countries where AES has operations each provide around 5% or less of the company’s revenue.

As for facilities, AES has about 20 generation facilities and two utilities in the US, some 25 generation facilities in Chile, Colombia and Argentina, three generation businesses in Brazil, about 20 generation facilities in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico; and four distribution business in El Salvador, and about 15 generation plants in Bulgaria, India, Jordan, The Netherlands, Philippines, Vietnam, and the UK.


Sales and Marketing

AES' generation business owns and operates power plants to generate and sell power to wholesale customers such as utilities, industrial users, and other intermediaries. Its utilities sell to end-user customers in the residential, commercial, industrial and governmental sectors.

Financial Performance

After two years of falling revenue (down 9% and 30%), AES generated a 2% increase in 2017 from 2016. Over a longer term, the company’s revenue has fluctuated largely depending on energy markets.

In 2017, AES posted revenue of $10.5 billion, a $249 million improvement over the previous year, driven by the company’s South America operations. Higher sales came from the MCAC and Andes operations, which were somewhat offset by the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and lower sales in the US due to lower retail tariffs lower wholesale volume.

AES’ net loss was $1.1 billion in 2017, $31 million more than the net loss of 2016. Dragging down income were the impact of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, losses on the sale of Kazakhstan combined heat and power (CHP) facilities and hydroelectric plants, a loss on deconsolidation of Eletropaulo, a higher loss on extinguishment of debt.

The company’s cash holdings were $949 million at the end of 2017 compared to $1.2 billion in 2016. Operations generated $2.5 billion in cash in 2017 and $2.8 billion in 2016, investing activities used $2.7 billion in 2017 and $2.1 billion in 2016, and financing activities generated $43 million in 2017 and used $747 million in 2016. It spent $341 million to prepay and refinance debt in 2017.

Strategy

AES reorganized some operations in 2018 to simplify its portfolio, improve its cost structure, and reduce its carbon intensity. The company intends to reduce it coal generation capacity to about 30% by 2020, down from 40% in 2015. Overall the company has added 2.3 GW of renewable capacity and said it would exit 4.3 GW of merchant coal-fired generation.

In partnership with AimCo, AES acquired sPower, an independent solar developer in the US. sPower has 1.3 GW of solar and wind projects and an additional 10 GW of renewables in its development pipeline.

In 2018, AES and Siemens teamed up to form Fluence, which is to provide large scale battery-based energy storage. The companies split ownership of the firm 50-50. Battery systems with high-storage capacity and reliability are an important part of the growth of wind and solar power. The deal builds on AES’ energy storage installations of lithium-ion batteries in seven countries and Siemens sales presence in some 160 countries.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2017 AES and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation jointly acquired US renewables company FTP Power from private investment firm Fir Tree Partners for $853 million in cash and the assumption of $724 million in debt.

Company Background

Applied Energy Services (AES) was founded in 1981, three years after passage of the Public Utilities Regulation Policies Act, which enabled small power firms to enter electric generation markets formerly dominated by utility monopolies. Co-founders Roger Sant and Dennis Bakke, who had served in President Nixon's Federal Energy Administration, saw that an independent power producer (IPP) could make money by generating cheap power in large volumes to sell to large power consumers and utilities.

AES set about building massive cogeneration plants (producing both steam and electricity) in 1983. The first plant, Deepwater, went into operation near Houston in 1986. By 1989 AES had three plants on line, and it then opened plants in Connecticut and Oklahoma. In 1991 the company, formally renamed AES, went public, but one plant's falsified emissions reports caused AES's stock to plummet in 1992.

Facing environmental groups' opposition to new power plant construction and an overall glut in the US power market, AES bought interests in two Northern Ireland plants in 1992 and began expanding into Latin America in 1993. Also in 1993 AES set up a separately traded subsidiary, AES China Generating Co., to focus on Chinese development projects. AES won a plant development contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (1994) and a bid to privatize an Argentine hydrothermal company (1995).

In 1996 AES began adding stakes in electric utility and distribution companies to its portfolio, including interests in formerly state-owned Brazilian electric utilities Light-Serviços de Eletricidade (1996) and CEMIG (1997); one Brazilian and two Argentine distribution companies (1997); and a distribution company in El Salvador (1998).

AES almost doubled its revenues after buying Destec Energy's international operations from NGC (now Dynegy) in 1997. By the next year, prospects in international markets were dimming, so AES turned to the US market again. It bought three California plants from Edison International and arranged for The Williams Companies to supply natural gas to the facilities and market the electricity generated. AES also won a bid to buy six plants from New York State Electric & Gas (now Energy East) affiliate NGE.

Also in 1998, despite black days in many world markets, AES bought 90% of Argentine electric distribution company Edelap and a 45% stake in state-owned Orissa Power Generation in India. Its moves paid off: AES posted a 70% gain in sales that year.

 

The AES Corporation

4300 WILSON BLVD STE 1100
Arlington, VA 22203-4168
Phone: 1 (703) 522-1315

Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: AES
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
CEO: Andrés R. Gluski
President and COO: Patrick Moran
Chairman: Charles O. Rossotti
Employees (This Location): 270
Employees (All Locations): 21,000

Major Office Locations

Arlington, VA

Other Locations

Mendota, CA
North Palm Springs, CA
Redondo Beach, CA
Indianapolis, IN
Martinsville, IN
Petersburg, IN
Manchester, OH
Marysville, OH
Miamisburg, OH
Moraine, OH
Condon, OR
Morgantown, WV
Santiago, Chile
Bhubaneswar, India
Gurgaon, India
New Delhi, India
Moscow, Russia
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic