At the half-year mark, Essen-based energy company E.ON again reaffirms its forecast for the current financial year. First-half earnings at E.ON’s networks business were at the prior-year level. The company’s renewables business achieved a slight earnings increase. The earnings decline at the customer solutions business is primarily attributable to the continued difficult situation in the U.K. market. Earnings there were considerably lower, principally because of a new regulatory price cap.
“Overall, our first-half results were in line with our planning. We can therefore again reaffirm our forecast for the 2019 financial year. We continue to expect our 2019 adjusted EBIT to be between €2.9 and €3.1 billion and our 2019 adjusted net income to be between €1.4 and €1.6 billion. We likewise reaffirm our dividend proposal of 46 cents per share for the 2019 financial year,” CFO Marc Spieker said at the presentation of the company’s results for the first half of 2019. “The market in Great Britain is currently particularly challenging. But here we have already responded to the demanding environment with attractive new products and clear cost management,” Spieker continued.
E.ON’s first-half sales rose by about 5 percent year on year, from €15.4 billion to €16.1 billion. Compared with the strong first half of the prior year, the company’s adjusted EBIT decreased by 12 percent, from roughly €1.9 billion to roughly €1.7 billion. In line with the EBIT decline, adjusted net income fell by 16 percent, from €1.1 billion to €0.9 billion.
Energy Networks’ adjusted EBIT of about €1 billion was slightly (€31 million) below the prior-year level. This segment’s earnings in Germany declined, primarily because of the non-recurrence of positive one-off items recorded in the prior-year period. Earnings were also adversely affected by a reduction in the allowed return on equity. However, these effects were offset by the expansion of the company’s regional distribution networks.
As anticipated, adjusted EBIT at Customer Solutions decreased from €477 million in the first half of 2018 to €240 million this year. The decline is primarily attributable to the regulatory price cap in the U.K. market. In addition, margins at this segment’s business in Germany were narrower because higher grid fees could not be passed through to customers until a later time. This will largely balance itself out as the year moves forward owing to price adjustments.
Renewables’ adjusted EBIT rose by €39 million year on year to €275 million. The primary reason was an increase in this segment’s output due to the commissioning of offshore wind farms in the United Kingdom and Germany and an onshore wind farm in the United States.
Earnings at Non-Core Business rose by €21million to €245 million, primarily because of an increase at the generation business in Turkey, whose hydroelectric stations considerably increased their output relative to the prior-year period.
Compared with the figure at year-end 2018 (€16.6 billion), E.ON’s economic net debt increased by about €3.6 billion to €20.2 billion. This was primarily due to the initial application of a new IFRS and a further significant decline in interest rate levels. The latter necessitated another increase in provisions for pensions.
Overall, E.ON’s first-half investments in its core business of €1.3 billion were at the prior-year level. However, the company significantly increased its investments in its growth businesses: Energy Networks’ investments rose by €78 million, Customer Solutions’ by €131 million. Half of E.ON’s investments—roughly €650 million—went toward its energy networks.
The planned transaction with RWE is right on schedule. E.ON’s filing of the planned takeover with the European Commission in January marked an important milestone. In late February RWE received approval from Brussels and Bonn for the takeover of E.ON’s and innogy’s renewables businesses and for the planned acquisition of a stake in E.ON. The preparations for the takeover of innogy are moving forward as planned. E.ON is confident that the transaction can be closed in September of this year.