Germany's second-largest utility, RWE, has told shareholders the firm was hoping stabilize in the course of this year and beyond after huge losses in 2013. But there would be no quick fix for all its problems.
At its annual meeting in Essen April 16, RWE Chief Executive Peter Terium (pictured) tried hard to improve the mood among shareholders, predicting earnings to stabilize as of next year.
"We do not expect the dramatic trends of recent years to continue to quite the same extent," Terium told investors, predicting slower growth in the use of renewables.
In 2013, RWE reported its first net loss for more than six decades, ending up 2.8 billion euros ($3.87 billion) in the red as a result of heavy write-downs on its conventional coal and gas-fired power stations.
The company argued that solar energy subsidies have been driving conventional power stations out of the market, rendering them unprofitable because of a "fundamental change in the electricity generation market."
RWE had kept investing billions in new gas and coal-fired stations, which now weigh heavily on the firm's balance sheet.
A major shareholder, Union Investment, urged RWE to do more to improve its environmental footprint. It said the company continued to be Europe's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, which was not particularly helpful in improving the firm's reputation domestically and abroad.
hg/ng (AFP, Reuters)