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Stock pick for 2021: Schneider Electric
In the drive to digitalise the economy and in the process reduce energy consumption, Paris-listed electrical systems and automation and control firm Schneider Electric is a world leader.
Its products range from simple residential kit like light switches, sockets and electric vehicle charging points, all the way up to building control systems and industrial automation software.
It employs 135,000 people in 115 countries across the globe and last year it turned over more than €25 billion or £21.5 billion in revenues, split roughly one third in the US, one third in Asia and the balance in Europe and the rest of the world.
Over 90% of its sales are on the energy demand side, serving the residential, industrial, infrastructure and technology sectors, with less than 10% in its legacy business of high-voltage electricity transmission and distribution.
Through its Internet of Things platform, the firm aims to help its customers save 800 million tons of CO2 emissions and provide green electricity to 50 million people by 2025.
Around 70% of its revenues derive from sustainable solutions, which also account for 73% of its investments, with a focus on data centers, storage and other distributed energy resources and smart solutions that advance electrification, energy efficiency and renewability.
For decades the firm has innovated in power distribution, working with software firms to tailor its products to its customers’ needs.
Two of its latest initiatives are bi-directional or ‘future’ electricity grids and a framework for environmentally sustainable data centres, which are notorious for consuming vast amounts of energy.
Future grids are designed to help reduce emissions by allowing multiple sources of decentralised, locally generated renewable energy to contribute to the electricity network safely, reliably and efficiently while reducing energy loss through transmission and distribution.
Meanwhile, data centres – which create up to 2% of the world’s carbon emissions, the same as the airline industry – need to become much more sustainable while at the same time offering greater capacity, so Schneider has set up a framework for companies to systematically measure their impact on the environment.
Pre-tax profit is forecast to have increased by 14% in 2021 to €4.16 billion, rising to €4.68 billion in 2022 and €5.19 billion in 2023, according to consensus estimates published by Refinitiv.