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Business

Vattenfall to invest heavily in Berlin

Swedish power supplier Vattenfall has told a German newspaper it wants to invest billions in Berlin's energy grid until the end of the decade. But it appears unwilling to grant municipal authorities much influence.

Swedish utility Vattenfall told the Monday edition of the "Berliner Morgenpost" daily newspaper it was willing to make a substantial investment in the German capital's energy infrastructure over the next couple of years.

In an interview for the daily, CEO Magnus Hall said his company would spend little under 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) until 2020 on Berlin's power network and the modernization of existing power plants in the city as well as on boosting energy generation capacities in the eastern parts of the capital.

"That's big money for us," Hall said, speaking of a variety of business options which would see Berlin profiting long-term.

Tough negotiations ahead

Vattenfall, which has been engaged in Berlin for a long time, is aiming to play a central role in reshaping the city's energy future towards more environmentally friendly operations. But it's not the only contender, with German power giant Eon also having bigger plans for the capital.

The Swedish company for its part is eager to signal its intent of maintaining a presence in Germany after announcing its

plan to pull out of its lignite mining and power generation business

in the eastern German states of Brandenburg and Saxony to improve its harmful CO2 emissions balance sheet.

But securing a good deal from Berlin would not be plain sailing, the "Berliner Morgenpost" wrote, pointing to stark differences between the authorities and Vattenfall over just how much influence the city of Berlin should have in strategic issues and running the energy grid.

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