May 15, 2019 / 5:10 AM / 7 days ago

RWE beats first quarter forecasts on strong trading performance

FILE PHOTO: High-voltage lines are seen in front of the lignite-fired Niederaussem power station of RWE, one of Europe's biggest electricity companies in Niederaussem, north-west of Cologne, Germany, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - RWE, Germany’s largest electricity producer, on Wednesday, posted higher-than-expected profit for the first quarter, boosted by its volatile commodity trading unit.

On a standalone basis, which excludes operational contributions from its Innogy subsidiary, RWE’s first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) surged 70% to 510 million euros (443 million pounds).

Analyst had, on an average, forecast 302 million euros.

“This was due to the strong performance of trading business, which improved considerably compared to the weak first-quarter of 2018,” RWE said in a statement, also confirming plans to pay a dividend of 0.80 euros per share for 2019.

RWE is currently in the process of acquiring the renewable energy assets of subsidiary Innogy and rival E.ON as part of a larger asset swap, a move that will turn it into Europe’s third-largest player in the field.

Supply & Trading, which also optimises power plants to increase their efficiency and profitability, posted adjusted EBITDA of 255 million euros, accounting for half of the first-quarter total.

RWE confirmed the unit’s 2019 outlook of 100-300 million euros in adjusted EBITDA, noting the substantial fluctuation it usually shows over the year, but said it would likely end up at the upper end of the year.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Thomas Seythal & Uttaresh.V

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