EnBW 2011 earnings hit by German nuclear phaseout | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 07.03.2012
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EnBW 2011 earnings hit by German nuclear phaseout

Germany's third-largest power supplier plunged deeply into red figures last year after the government ordered the company to shut down two of its nuclear power plants. EnBW now seeks a comeback with renewable energies.

EnBW posted a net loss of 867 million euros ($1.139 billion) in 2011 – down markedly from a net profit of 1.2 billion euros reached in the previous year, the Karlsruhe-based energy utility said Wednesday.

In spite of a 6 percent rise in electricity sales to a total of 155.7 billion kilowatts last year, "extraordinary expenses" arising from the "immediate shutdown of two nuclear plants", as well as impairment losses "weighed heavily" on the company's earnings, EnBW chairman of the board, Hans-Peter Villis told a news conference.

Profits slumped also in EnBW's distribution and grid business – down 24.5 percent – due to high costs for connecting an offshore wind farm, as well as in the company's natural gas division which earned 35 percent less in 2011.

"The situation is unlikely to improve substantially in the coming years," said Villis, adding that government energy policy had been and would continue to be "a burden on our earnings."

Glimmer of hope

However, EnBW revenues rose 7.9 percent from 17.5 billion euros in 2010 to 18.8 billion last year.

A small part of it was garnered by EnBW's energy and environment services division which was up 71.2 percent to 190 million euros.

The company also places much hope on expansion in renewable energies.

In 2011, EnBW put Germany's first commercial offshore windfarm online, started electricity generation in a new water power plant, and set up the tallest wind turbine in southern Germany with a height of 138 meters (452 ft).

"We will continue down this [renewable energies] path on the basis of solid and sound finances," Hans-Peter Villis said.

In order to be able to do so, the company said it would "raise efficiency and disinvest non-core businesses" in its portfolio, as well as "seek fresh capital by issuing new shares."

In addition, EnBW announced it would slash its dividend from 1.53 euros per share paid in 2010 to 0.85 euros.

uhe/nk (dpa, Reuters)