FRANKFURT E.ON (EONGn.DE) sees limited scope for compensation claims following a court ruling related to Germany's nuclear exit that paves the way for utilities to try to reclaim money, its chief executive told brokerage Bernstein in an interview.
Germany's highest court on Tuesday ruled that hastening the shutdown of nuclear plants after Japan's Fukushima disaster violated some of the property rights of utility companies, allowing them to seek limited damages.
It said that utilities could claim back stranded investments made between December 2010 and March 2011 when the government decided to extend the life of nuclear plants. In 2011, the government's position changed and it decided to shut down all stations by 2022.
E.ON said earlier this week it had invested several hundred million euros in 2010 in the expectation that the government's nuclear policy would remain unchanged.
"Of this, a low triple digit million amount was likely incurred in the four month period between December 2010 and March 2011, which should be eligible for compensation," Bernstein quoted CEO Johannes Teyssen as saying.
Germany's environment minister Barbara Hendricks said this week the court ruling meant demands by utilities for billions of euros in compensation was off the table.
Teyssen also said an announcement about the successor to outgoing Chief Financial Officer Michael Sen, who will return to Siemens (SIEGn.DE) on April 1, would be made in the next two weeks.
"Although the CEO did not comment on whether the successor is an internal candidate, we would assume that it is an internal option given the short time frame ... between the announcement of Sen's departure and the scheduled announcement of his replacement," Bernstein said.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman)