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Business

E.on dumps nuclear project in Finland

German E.on energy group plans to sell its business in Finland, including a stake in a consortium that wants to build a new nuclear reactor. The move is part of the company's drive to revise its nuclear strategy.

E.on subsidiary E.on Nordic is planning to sell its 34-percent stake in Fennovoima, a Scandinavian consortium created in 2009 with the aim of building a new nuclear reactor in Finland, the German energy group announced Wednesday.

Jonas Abrahamsson, E.on northern regional manager said the decision was part of the energy group's drive to withdraw investments from Finland and re-focus its Scandinavian business on Sweden and Denmark.

"We've started to sell off all our assets in Finland," Abrahamsson said, adding that this would also include a 20-percent stake in natural gas company Gasum.

As talks about the future ownership of the Fennovoima consortium were underway, the nuclear project worth about 6 billion euros ($7.76 billion) wasn't threatened, Finish steelmaker Outokumpu, which also owns a stake in the project, said.

Outokumpu Chief Executive Mika Seitovirta told Finish public broadcaster YLE the group remained committed to building the nuclear reactor.

In March this year, E.on already pulled out of a joint venture with its German rival RWE to build a new nuclear power plant in Great Britain. E.on cited high building costs as a major reason for leaving the project.

E.on, which is Germany's biggest energy group, runs several nuclear plants in Germany and one in Sweden.

However, its earnings from nuclear power have slumped after the German government decided last year to immediately shut down older reactors after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

Furthermore, Berlin's plan to completely phase out nuclear power in Germany by 2022 has caused E.on to revise its business portfolio toward more renewable forms of energy.

uhe/mz (Reuters, dpa)