EON profits plunge on nuclear pull-out

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EON, Germany's biggest power supplier, said Wednesday its profits fell sharply in the first nine months owing to the shutdown of power plants as part of Germany's policy to abandon nuclear energy.

EON said in a statement its bottom-line net profit plummeted to 864 million euros ($1.2 billion) in the period from January to September from 3.522 billion euros a year earlier.

Adjusted for special factors, net profit was down 64 percent at 1.585 billion euros, despite a 21-percent increase in reveneues to 77.5 billion euros.

By contrast, in the third quarter alone bottom-line earnings swung to net profit of 173 million euros from a loss of 389 million euros a year earlier as revenues climbed 25 percent to 24.458 billion euros.

EON blamed the drop in nine-month earnings to "adverse factors including the early shutdown of several of our nuclear power stations in Germany, Germany's nuclear-fuel tax, and continued margin pressure in our gas wholesale business."

The German government is phasing out nuclear power, forcing energy supplies to shutdown their profitable large-scale power plants and also levying a tax on the reactors' fuel for their remaining lifespan.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, EON said it was sticking to its forecasts for adjusted operating profit of 9.1-9.8 billion euros and net profit of of 2.1-2.6 billion euros.

"As a result, we also still plan to pay out a dividend of 1.0 euro per share for the 2011 financial year," EON said.

© 2011 AFP

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