– by Tom Käckenhoff and Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert
Düsseldorf / Frankfurt (Reuters) – The regained energy giant RWE has prepared itself for takeovers in the booming green electricity sector with a capital increase worth billions.
Within a few hours, the group raised around two billion euros by issuing new shares. “The additional financial flexibility enables us to expand our project pipeline and accelerate our continuous growth in wind power and solar,” emphasized CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz. RWE wants to exceed the previously announced growth targets. Although the share fell 4.5 percent on Wednesday, it had previously climbed to its highest level in eight years.
RWE has a solid financial basis and stands for growth prospects in the field of renewable energies and reliable dividends, said CFO Markus Krebber. “We are sticking to our plan to increase our dividend for the 2020 financial year to 85 cents per share and to continuously increase dividend payments in line with the development of our core business.”
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Krebber is to follow Schmitz in the top position in 2021. He is already driving the green electricity projects, but many are scrambling for them – including the big oil companies. The manager recently pointed out that RWE still had to fill gaps in the offshore wind and solar business.
For RWE, the pressure is increasing to stay on the ball without getting bogged down. Investors and shareholders are pushing for the projects to be profitable too. The competition is increasing. BP has announced that it will massively expand its green electricity business. “There is a shortage of offshore wind projects,” says the portfolio manager of the Union Investment fund company, Thomas Deser, of the Reuters news agency. “This could be compounded by the entry of oil companies like BP into the renewable energy business.” BP’s plans are huge. “BP wants to have capacities of 50 gigawatts by 2030, compared to the current 2.5. It is difficult to imagine that BP can achieve this value so quickly without takeovers.”
RWE intends to use part of the income from the capital increase to refinance the purchase of wind farm projects from wind turbine manufacturer Nordex for around 400 million euros, which was announced at the end of July. RWE intends to use the rest of the additional, short-term expansion of renewable energies, the further development of the project pipeline and stuck in further growth.
The former atomic and coal dinosaur has created future prospects for himself by taking over the green electricity businesses of E.ON and its own subsidiary Innogy. Years ago, many declared dead, the group defied the Corona crisis. In the past few years, a capital increase was hardly to be thought of – because of the weak share price, this would have brought in little. The last capital increase RWE had dared to do in 2011 – the year of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima – under the then CEO Jürgen Großmann.