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Business

German utility Eon's operating profit rises, but...

Germany's largest energy provider, Eon, has reported a rise in operating profit in the first quarter of its business year. But the good news for the company was only due to a one-off effect from its deals with Gazprom.

A one-off effect secured Eon some breathing room at the beginning of the year, the Düsseldorf-based company reported Wednesday.

The utility's operating profit rose by 8 percent in the first quarter year-on-year to total 3.1 billion euros ($3.5 billion).

The result would not have been so positive without a one-off gain of 400 million euros from Eon's newly negotiated deals with Russia's Gazprom which enabled it to get gas supplies under more favorable financial conditions.

Eon CEO Johannes Teyssen pointed out that the results in the firm's electricity generation segment were disappointing again, with operating profit there dropping by almost a third to 529 million euros, mostly due to falling electricity prices.

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Teyssen reiterated that 2016 was a year of transition for the utility as it struggled to come to terms with the country's large-scale shift to renewables and the

phase-out of nuclear energy.

The company had responded to the new challenges by starting to spin off most of its nuclear, gas and coal-fired plants as well as its energy trading activities into a separate firm called Uniper.

If everything goes according to schedule, Uniper will become a listed company in the second half of this year. The spin-off is meant to sharpen Eon's business profile and lure investors.

hg/cjc (Reuters, dpa)

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