Utility company E.ON back in the black, but pessimistic | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.03.2013
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Utility company E.ON back in the black, but pessimistic

Germany's largest utility company, E.ON, has said it's managed to leave negative territory and post solid earnings for 2012. But with increasing price pressures and competition, the firm's outlook is cautious.

E.ON on Wednesday reported a net profit of 2.62 billion euros ($3.44 billion) for 2012, after logging losses to the tune of 1.8 billion euros a year earlier.

Analysts said the energy giant had made big strides in dealing with the consequences of Germany 's energy transition scheme and the resulting complete phase-out of nuclear energy in the country.

But the company warned earnings before interest and tax in the current year were unlikely to reach last year's level. E.ON expected them to drop to 9.2 billion euros in 2013, after recording 9.8 billion euros in 2012.

Getting rid of dead wood?

The company said the rather pessimistic outlook was due to continuously sinking prices at the national electricity exchange and the consequences of the energy transition which meant decreasing profit margins for gas-fired power plants.

The firm's supervisory board decided in favor of CEO Johannes Theyssen staying at the helm for another five years. He took over the post back in 2010 and has since worked on a restructuring scheme which also involves reducing the workforce by up to 11,000 people, with E.ON currently employing 75,000 workers globally.

The company admitted it was still sitting on a huge pile of debt amounting to more than 35 billion euros. It's planning to sell its stake in uranium firm Urenco and two other subsidiaries which would secure E.ON an estimated 2 billion euros.

hg/jlw (dpa, Reuters)

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