E.ON to speed power plant sales
FRANKFURT, April 9 (Reuters) – Utility E.ON plans to try and sell some 5,000 megawatts of German power generation capacity either this year or next, board member Johannes Teyssen told Reuters on Wednesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a parliamentary hearing in Berlin, Teyssen said the speed of the implementation of the move depended on the modalities of a related settlement of two cartel cases with the European Union Commission.
It was E.ON’s goal to sell the plants within “the adequately near future,” he said but declined to comment on whether E.ON was already talking to interested parties.
Teyssen also declined to comment on any possible negotiations with would-be buyers of E.ON’s high voltage power network, which the company has also said is up for sale to appease the EU.
E.ON surprised energy and equities markets late in February with the announcement of its plans, because it had previously fiercely opposed getting rid of its distribution networks.
By publishing its unilateral plans to shed network and generation assets, E.ON broke ranks with German sector peers, authorities and politicians, who had previously resisted such EU calls to break up big energy firms.
The EU aims at enforcing competition in energy to help consumers but has faced opposition to its plans from a number of member states who want to protect their national energy firms.
Another E.ON top executive said elsewhere that E.ON would tread cautiously with new acquisitions after recently buying billions of euros worth of power generation capacity in Russia, gas fields in Norway, and parts of Spanish utility Endesa.
E.ON is committed to a 60 billion euro investment programme up to 2010, which especially entails spending on power plants and renewable energy.
“We’ll stick to dealing with what we’ve got for now,” said finance director Marcus Schenck at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Duesseldorf.
E.ON is among three firms shortlisted for a potential majority stake purchase in Belgian gas company Distrigas.