Belfast Telegraph

E.on UK retail earnings plummet as price cap takes its toll

The German-owned supplier revealed a 78% plunge in second quarter underlying earnings at its UK retail supply arm to 12 million euro (£11 million).

Energy giant E.on has blamed the energy price cap for sending UK retail earnings crashing 78% as it also lost more customers (PA)
Energy giant E.on has blamed the energy price cap for sending UK retail earnings crashing 78% as it also lost more customers (PA)

E.on has blamed the energy price cap for sending UK retail earnings crashing 78% as the gas and electricity giant also shed another 400,000 customers.

The German-owned Big Six provider revealed underlying earnings at its UK household supply arm plunged to 12 million euro (£11 million) in the three months to June 30.

It said it saw customer numbers drop around 400,000 to 6.2 million in the first half, after about another 170,000 quit in the second quarter.

But E.on said it had begun to reverse the decline in UK customer numbers, reporting an increase in July.

The market in Great Britain is currently particularly challenging. Marc Spieker, E.on

This is thought to have been helped by its recent pledge to only provide electricity from renewable generation for its 3.3 million customers in Britain.

E.on’s results showed overall first half underlying UK retail earnings were 65% lower at 71 million euro (£65 million) in the first half of 2019, and E.on warned the price cap will leave annual earnings in the wider division “significantly below” the previous year.

E.on said the market was “particularly challenging” in the UK after the introduction of the price cap for default and standard variable tariffs in January.

The firm’s figures come as the UK energy regulator Ofgem also announced on Wednesday that the price cap will reduce by £75 to £1,179 a year from October 1 due to lower prices in wholesale energy markets.

E.on’s wider group also saw figures impacted by the energy price cap and retail arm woes, contributing to a 12% fall in total half-year underlying earnings to 1.72 billion euro (£1.58 billion).

Across the group, earnings at its customer solutions retail division nearly halved to 240 million euro (£221 million) in the six months to June 30 from 477 million euro (£439 million) a year earlier.

Marc Spieker, chief financial officer at E.on, said: “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.”

The firm also revealed an 11% fall in staff at its retail business to 17,608 amid restructuring efforts in the UK and elsewhere across Europe, while it has also been re-assigning staff to its energy network division.

E.on added it expects to complete its 40 billion euro (£36.8 billion) takeover of RWE’s Innogy – owner of npower – next month as part of an asset swap with RWE.

It is looking at strategic options for UK supplier npower, which has been loss-making for the past few years.

Speaking after announcing the results, Mr Spieker said it is “no option that we have a non-profitable business in our portfolio”.

But it is understood that options for npower could include it being offloaded or retained by E.on in a bid to turn it around.

The future of npower has been uncertain since a plan to merge it with fellow Big Six supplier SSE was scrapped at the end of last year.

PA

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