E.ON forced to remove nuclear operations from spin-off

Germany’s largest utility, E.ON, is set to record a massive €9bn ($10bn) loss due to impairment costs this quarter after deciding not to unload its nuclear business into a new company.

The decision came after the German government announced its intentions to ensure utilities bore the brunt of liabilities of the country’s phasing out of nuclear power.
E.ON had planned to move its nuclear operations into Uniper, a company being established to operate conventional power, trading, exploration and production. The spinoff will proceed but without German nuclear activities.

“We cannot and will not wait for possible policy-making decisions that could delay the spinoff of Uniper,” Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said. “We will not play chess with politicians.”

He added that the government move was a surprise and said making shareholders “perpetually liable” for financing burdens without operational control isn’t acceptable.

Government proposals would make utilities permanently liable for the costs of nuclear waste and plant decommissioning.


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