FRANKFURT Investors put a price tag of 3.9 billion euros ($4.4 billion) on power plant and energy trading firm Uniper on Monday, giving shareholders in former parent E.ON insight into the potential writedowns it faces.
E.ON, which holds 46.65 percent of Uniper after the spin-off, said last month it valued the division at some 12 billion euros in its books and warned further charges might follow once Uniper started trading on the stock exchange.
In a market debut closely watched by investors, Uniper's shares traded at 10.58 euros apiece at 1100 GMT, above the opening price of 10.015 euros and towards the upper end of potential valuations given by analysts. E.ON slumped 15 percent.
By midday, about 27 million shares in both companies had changed hands, accounting for about half of all trading activity among German blue-chips.
"We see a major buying opportunity in Uniper because of the near-term share price volatility based on forced index related selling and investor rotation following the demerger," Macquarie analysts said, starting the company with an "outperform" rating.
Due to selling pressure from index trackers, who got Uniper stock by virtue of being E.ON shareholders but have to dump it because it will be excluded from Germany's DAX index, analysts had expected Uniper to trade anywhere between 5.50-13.00 euros.
E.ON hopes that carving out the ailing gas- and coal-fired power plants will unlock the value of its future core businesses - networks, renewable energy and retail - and ultimately raise the value of both companies as separate entities.
This was reflected in the group's joint market valuation on Monday, which showed a combined 17.4 billion euros, higher than E.ON's 15.9 billion valuation at Friday's closing price.
Smaller rival RWE is also in the process of spinning off its power grids, renewables and costumer business into a company dubbed Innogy and it said on Monday it would sell shares in a secondary offering alongside a capital increase.
(Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger, Maria Sheahan and Hakan Ersen; editing by David Clarke)