power Companies

Return of the Energy Giants

Kernkraftwerk Grohnde
The Grohnde nuclear power plant: The high costs of dismantling Germany's power plants made the country's largest energy firms less attractive to investors. Source: DPA

The accident with the Fukushima nuclear reactor in March of 2011 along with the ongoing national transition to green energy was a major blow to Germany’s biggest energy companies. It brought E.ON and RWE not only enormous write-downs, but also a dramatic drop in share prices, that culminated in the companies being broken up.

At the beginning of 2016, E.ON spun off the power plant subsidiary Uniper, going public with it in September. A month later, the RWE subsidiary, Innogy, had its own share market offering. “The split was important for E.ON and RWE, in order to gain fresh funds and buttress their equity capital,” says Thomas Deser, a portfolio manager specializing in global utilities at Union Investment Management.

But now things are looking up for the four largest Germany energy companies. In the first half of this year, E.ON and RWE were among the winners on Germany’s DAX index, while Uniper and Innogy are firmly ensconced on the MDax, Germany’s index of 50 leading companies after the DAX’s top 30.

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