State Grid Charges Ahead as World’s Most Valuable Utilities Brand for 4th Consecutive Year
World’s top 50 utilities brands down 7%
The total value of the world’s top 50 most valuable utilities brands has declined by 7%, decreasing from US$197.0 billion in 2020 to US$183.6 billion in 2021.
As the world came to a standstill last year, utilities brands felt the shockwave of decreased power and electricity demand and grappled with disruptions to supply chains and the fallout from the global economic slowdown. Despite the total brand value of the world’s top 50 most valuable utilities brands declining 7% year-on-year, as economies begin to bounce back, so will utilities brands.Richard Haigh, Managing Director, Brand Finance
State Grid charges ahead
State Grid has retained the title of the world’s most valuable utilities brand by a considerable margin, despite recording a 3% decrease in brand value to US$55.2 billion.
Spanning 26 provinces and supplying power to over 1.1 billion people, equating to a staggering 88% of the population, State Grid is the world’s largest public utility brand. The behemoth also operates overseas in the Philippines, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, and Italy. The brand is continuing to expand its global footprint, particularly in the Latin America region, having announced the purchase of Chilean companies Chilquinta and CGE last year.
Following President Xi Jinping’s bold pledge to make China carbon neutral by 2060, State Grid has outlined its plan to support the nation’s clean energy drive through the development of new infrastructure - including wind, solar, and hydro power - as well as the promotion of electric energy to replace coal and fossil fuels.
Chinese brands dominate
Aside from State Grid, a further five Chinese brands feature in the Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 ranking: CGN (brand value down 2% to US$2.9 billion); GD Power Development (down 7% to US$2.6 billion); Datang Power (down 3% to US$1.8 billion); ENN (down 18% to US$1.7 billion); and China Yangtze Power (up 12% to US$1.1 billion).
China Yangtze Power is a new entrant this year, claiming 49th position in the ranking. The brand is the largest hydropower company in the world in terms of consolidated installed capacity of hydropower. It joined the London Stock Exchange last year, becoming the third company to list in London through the London-Shanghai Stock Connect Scheme.
The total value of the six Chinese brands in the ranking account for 36% of the total brand value. Behind China, the US’s 20 brands that feature account for 19% of the total brand value.
E.ON and Vattenfall electrify as fastest growing
The sector’s fastest growing brand is E.ON, following an impressive 59% brand value increase to US$4.7 billion, simultaneously jumping five spots in the ranking to 7th position. Celebrating its 20th birthday last year, the German utilities giant has benefitted from a combination of organic and inorganic growth. The resilience of the firm’s business model in the face of COVID-19, combined with its adaptability and move towards renewable energy, has played a role in E.ON’s chart-topping growth. The results of an internal restructuring and the successful incorporation of German energy company, Innogy, have also played a substantial role in boosting its brand value.
Sweden’s Vattenfall is the second fastest growing brand this year, recording a 36% brand value growth to US$2.7 billion and climbing from 30th to 14th position. Despite profits taking a hit as a result of the pandemic, Vattenfall has shown impressive resilience given the reduction in power generation and lower sales of electricity, gas, and heat. The brand has continued to focus on its investment projects, expansion, and partnerships, which include offshore wind investment projects and the opening of the largest onshore wind farm in the Netherlands.
KEPCO is sector’s strongest
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, KEPCO (down 19% to US$6.0 billion) is once again the world’s strongest utilities brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 86.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.
KEPCO lies at the heart of the South Korean government’s Green New Deal, which commits the nation to focus on renewable energy and infrastructure, as well as the implementation of circular economy initiatives, including reducing and recycling energy.
The South Korean majority state-owned utility has caused some controversy recently after being forced to reverse its decision to support and fund overseas coal projects – either by withdrawing completely or converting the plants to liquified natural gas plants – following global protests.