August 13 - Germany's top utility company, E.On, has posted a 15 percent drop in first-half core earnings and warned that plunging wholesale power prices and booming renewables will eat into its profits. Hayley Platt reports.
15% is today's daily digit. That's the drop in first half core earnings at E.ON. Germany's largest power supplier said underlying net income fell by 42% to 1.9 billion euros, slightly above analysts expectations. E.ON blames record-low wholesale prices, weak consumer demand and a boom in renewable energy - which is subsidised by the government. And they're not the only ones finding it tough in recession-hit Europe. The current cut prices mean gas plants in Germany are making a loss of around 16 euros per megawatt an hour as customers turn to greener alternatives. Wholesale power prices in Germany are down by a fifth since the beginning of the year. On top of that cheaper solar and wind renewables are given priority when being fed into the distribution grid. That's hurt conventional gas plants which have less time in which they can operate. E.ON says it's mothballing some of its unprofitable European power plants - while rival RWE is reportedly planning to shut down thousands of megawatts of plant capacity. E.ON says it's now looking for growth in fast growing markets like Turkey and Brazil. While RWE is concentrating on its core European market. Shares in both companies hit their lowest level in more than a decade. Nuclear energy is also to blame. Thousands of jobs have been axed and billions of euros worth of assets shed following Germany's decision to abandon nuclear power by 2022.