German utility E.ON says net income is up, but business still under pressure

FRANKFURT – German utility company E.ON SE says net income rose 25 per cent in the first quarter thanks to the sale of several businesses.

The company’s profits fell however when that one-time boost was excluded, and the CEO said it faced a difficult environment.

CEO Johannes Teyssen said in a statement Wednesday “the economic situation of our legacy business in Europe, particularly in conventional power generation, remains difficult.”

E.ON has more than 72,000 employees and provides electricity, gas and water across Europe and in the U.K.. It is also active in power generation and transmission in Russia.

The company said its operations remained under pressure from a slack economy and competition for its gas-fired electricity plants from renewable energy sources and coal.

Net profit rose to 2.33 billion euros ($3.05 billion) from 1.87 billion euros in the same quarter the year before. Revenues were flat at 35.9 billion euros.

The bottom line was boosted by 929 million euros in gains, including those from selling E.ON Thueringer Energie, stakes in Slovakian energy company SPP and JMP Czechia and network segments in Germany. Once that was excluded, underlying net income fell 16 per cent to 1.39 billion. That exceeded the estimate for 1.345 billion euros among analysts surveyed by financial information provider FactSet.

E.ON stuck with its earnings forecast for the year of underlying net income of 2.2 billion-2.6 billlion euros. The company’s shares were 0.3 per cent higher at 13.23 euros in midday trading in Europe.