The profit after tax for 2015 amounts to €235 million (2014: €323 million). Excluding incidental items and fair value movements, net profit after taks amounted to €211 million (2014: €240 million). The decline of €29 million in the latter figure is accounted for by a result from continuing operations that was €47 million lower than in the preceding year owing to reduced income and an increase in expenses while the result from discontinued operations was up by €18 million, chiefly as a consequence of ceasing to recognise depreciation in relation to Endinet from 24 March 2015 onwards.
Total income was down from €1,729 million in 2014 to €1,680 million in 2015, as a result of lower regulated tariffs coupled with an incidental (non-recurring) gain in 2014. Total operating expenses were up from €1,245 million in 2014 to €1,341 million in 2015. This increase was chiefly a consequence of higher sufferance tax charges, higher costs passed on from the transmission network operator TenneT and higher network maintenance costs. Alliander continues to work towards increased effectiveness and efficiency.
The significant trends in the income and expenses are discussed below in greater detail. It should be noted in this context that the items relating to Endinet for 2014 and 2015 are shown separately whereas reporting requirements mean that they are presented as a single 'result from discontinued operations' in the financial statements. For further details, reference is made to note  in the financial statements.
Revenue (excluding revenue from discontinued operations – Endinet) in 2015 was down by €8 million, from €1,594 million to €1,586 million) compared with the preceding year. The drop was largely the combined effect of lower regulated gas transport and connection tariffs (down by €22 million) and an increase of €11 million in the contributions to operations and other revenue. Approximately 85% of our revenue is generated by regulated activities. Alliander also has non-regulated activities, such as those of Liandon, and various new activities.
The total operating expenses (excluding those associated with discontinued operations – Endinet) were up from €1,245 million in 2014 to €1,341 million in 2015. This increase was chiefly a consequence of higher sufferance tax charges, higher costs passed on from the transmission network operator TenneT and higher network maintenance costs. There were also higher depreciation charges. The other operating expenses showed a decline. Alliander continues to work towards increased effectiveness and efficiency.
The operating profit (excluding the operating profit from discontinued operations – Endinet) amounted to €339 million, which is €145 million lower than in the preceding year.
This is accounted for by lower total income, which was down by €49 million overall, with a reduction of €41 million in other income, mainly because total income in 2014 was lifted by an incidental (non-recurring) gain of €40 million in 2014 but also because of a drop in revenue of €8 million in 2015. Total costs were also up by €96 million. This significant increase in costs is considered in greater detail below.
Network investment and maintenance costs
The above graph shows the expenditure on maintenance costs and network investments, including meters, over the past five years. Total expenditure on network investment and maintenance costs, at €712 million, was comparable to the expenditure in 2014 (€706 million).
Employee benefit expense
The increase of €10 million in employee benefit expense for permanent staff and external personnel compared with the preceding year was entirely due to an increase in external staff in the IT service unit in particular. The permanent staff costs were the same as in the preceding year, accounted for by a slightly lower number of FTEs coupled with an increase in costs per FTE due to such things as general pay increases and higher levels of education leading to increased costs.
The costs of grid losses (excluding costs attributable to discontinued operations – Endinet) amounted to €71 million, which is €10 million less than in the preceding year. The lower figure is mainly the result of lower tariffs plus gains from the settlement of network losses in prior years and an amount released from reserves.
Transmission capacity costs
The costs of providing transmission capacity passed on by electricity transmission network operator TenneT (excluding costs attributable to discontinued operations – Endinet) showed a further increase in 2015 of €17 million, coming in at €160 million (2014: €143 million). This increase is mainly due to higher tariffs charged by TenneT as a result of including the system service tariff in the transmission charges. The service charges are set by the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) and constitute an integral part of the tariffs.
Sufferance tax charges
The amount of sufferance tax charges increased by €30 million compared with 2014, to €110 million. The trend in the amount of sufferance tax payable over the past five years is illustrated in the graph above. The increase is largely due to the fact that more and more municipal authorities are levying sufferance tax charges on Liander. The fact that there is what is referred to as an objectively observable regional difference means that these sufferance tax charges are included in the data used for regulation purposes and, for the most part, with a time lag reflected in the tariffs applicable to all customers in the area served by Liander. The local levies therefore lead to increased tariffs for all customers, even though the tax is only levied by a limited number of municipalities. For this reason, Alliander is opposed to sufferance taxes.
The depreciation charges and impairment losses on property, plant and equipment (excluding those attributable to discontinued operations – Endinet) amounted to €338 million, which is an increase of €23 million compared with the preceding year. This increase is mainly accounted for by higher scheduled depreciation on networks and IT equipment plus an increase in impairment losses resulting from the accelerated depreciation of decommissioned assets. Depreciation charges for Endinet were lower because of the discontinued recognition of depreciation from 24 March onwards, following the classification of Endinet as held for sale.
A drop in interest-bearing debt coupled with lower interest rates meant that interest charges on loans from third parties were down by €15 million in 2015, at €65 million.