E.ON upbeat despite €2bn annual losses

Marion Dakers
GERMAN energy group E.ON yesterday cut its dividend as it posted a net loss of €2.2bn (£1.8bn) for the year, its first ever full-year loss.

The firm blamed the abrupt shutdown of nuclear plants in Germany and the lower price of wholesale gas for the loss, which came despite a 22 per cent rise in sales to €113bn.

The company’s energy trading division made a €631m loss, compared to a €1.2bn profit the previous year.

In a statement entitled “Past the Worst”, E.ON said it has made good progress with its restructuring and that operations outside of Europe were reporting strong growth.

Chief executive Johannes Teyssen said the firm was in talks with potential partners in India and Turkey.

It forecast underlying net income of up to €2.7bn this year, and still plans to pay a dividend of €1.10 a share.

In the UK, its retail business posted a profit of £304m, down 7.6 per cent on the previous year, despite the firm gaining more than 12,000 new residential customers.

Other UK operations including wind farms and gas storage earned £972m, down 4.4 per cent.

“Even if E.ON was adversely affected by a number of key issues such as gas prices, the nuclear phase-out or depreciations, we believe that the company has a good starting base for a positive development,” said DZ Bank analyst Hasim Senguel.