EnergyWatch

Fortum's big acquisition target stays hard to hit

Uniper's operating result shriveled by more than 20 percent in 2018, and the German utility expects further decline this year yet still lines the pockets of its shareholders.

Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Thilo Schmuelgen

Last month, German Uniper and Finnish Fortum announced that set their relationship off on a fresh start. The Finnish utility, which owns 47 percent of the latter's equity, has tried for two years to forge the final matrimonial bonds binding the two together – an attempt seen as a hostile takeover by the German company's management. Now Uniper Chief Executive Klaus Schäfer and Chief Financial Officer Christopher Delbrück have decided to allow a little more affection into the room.

However, looking at Uniper's annual financial statement announced Tuesday might look like something of a turn off. Despite a sales growth 8.2 percent for a total of EUR 78.2 million, the utility's operating earnings declined an entire 22.4 percent. Last year, the adjusted EBIT margin landed EUR 865 million, corresponding to a slim 1.1 percent – and without any signs of impending improvement.

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