RWE's gas plants margins rise, shares top German blue chips

  • Sees upper end of adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income outlook range
  • Raises outlook for European Power division
  • H1 adjusted EBITDA 3.21 billion euros vs 3.19 billion Reuters poll
  • Shares best-performing blue-chip so far this year
Sportphoto | ullstein bild | Getty Images

Margins at German energy group RWE's gas-fired power plants were higher than expected in the first half, it said on Monday, and it now expects full-year profits to be at the upper end of its
outlook range.

Shares in the group, which focuses on conventional power generation and energy trading, were up 2.5 percent at 0745 GMT, making them the best performers among German blue-chips so far this year.

"The first year since the restructuring of RWE has gone well for us so far," Chief Executive Rolf Martin Schmitz said in a letter to shareholders, referring to last year's carve-out and listing of Innogy, which reported first-half results last week.

RWE said it now expects 2017 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to be at the upper end of its 5.4 billion to 5.7 billion euro ($6.4-6.7 billion) target range. It also sees adjusted net income at the upper end of its forecast range from 1 billion to 1.3 billion euros.

This was driven by higher load factors and margins at its gas-fired power plants, it said, without giving specific reasons for the rise, and it raised its outlook for the European Power segment, which is now expected to significantly grow adjusted core earnings (EBITDA).

The group had previously forecast a substantial decline.

First-half adjusted EBITDA on a group level rose 7 percent to 3.21 billion euros, in line with the 3.19 billion average forecast in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.

Jefferies kept a "buy" rating on the stock, calling the results reassuring.

While gas-fired power plants performed well, RWE said that hard coal-fired stations remained under pressure, adding the group would press ahead with efficiency measures, without giving specific details.

RWE said it would also benefit from the sale of most of its former 1,140 megawatt oil-fired Littlebrook power station in Britain to property investor Tritax Big Box REIT, which is expected to be completed later this year.

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