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E.ON CEO says Innogy deal on track despite 'expected' EU probe

CEO Teyssen confident the utility will obtain the necessary approvals in the second half of the year

All aspects of the planned takeover of Innogy’s customer and grids business remain on schedule, E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen said, as the opening of an in-depth EU probe into the transaction had been anticipated in view of the planned transaction’s complexity.

“This too was fully in line with our plans. We’re confident that we’ll obtain the necessary approvals in the second half of the year,” Teyssen said during the publication of E.ON’s 2018 results.

E.ON in January had filed its plans for the deal with the European Commission (EC), which on Monday said it has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed takeover plans under EU merger regulation. The EC cited concerns that the deal could reduce competition in gas and power retail markets of four member states, among them Germany.

The Commission a week earlier had, however, given the green light to the other part of the planned transaction – RWE’s takeover of the renewables (and nuclear) operations of both E.ON and Innogy to become a European green power generation giant.

RWE files E.ON and Innogy renewables acquisition with EU

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E.ON said it continues preparations for the transaction, will keep its name and leave headquarters in Essen, and is satisfied with discussions with the Innogy management team.

“We’re working together constructively in an atmosphere of mutual trust,” Teyssen said.

Teyssen made his remarks as E.ON’s renewables segment increased its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) by €67m to €521m ($588m) in 2018 due to the inclusion in output of new wind farms in the US for the entire year for the first time, and the commissioning of an offshore wind farm in the UK.

Chief financial officer Marc Spieker stressed that renewables delivered particularly strong earnings despite relatively poor wind yields in the year.

“The Renewables segment’s great earnings performance demonstrates its employees’ undiminished motivation despite the upcoming transfer of this business to RWE,” he said.

E.ON’s overall adjusted Ebit fell €85m to €3bn, but its adjusted net income rose about €100m to €1.5bn due to a reduction in interest expenses and taxes.

For 2019, the company expects and adjusted Ebit of €2.9-3.1bn, and adjusted net income of €1.4-1.6bn.

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