* Enters cooperation with Google's Nest to sell thermostats
* Does not see final ruling on nuclear fuel tax in 2014
* Shares up 0.8 percent
(Adds detail on nuclear fuel tax, updates shares)
By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff
ESSEN, Germany, April 16 Germany's RWE
said it expected profits to stabilise beyond 2014, albeit at a
lower level, as it targets customer-friendly products in an
attempt to offset a decline in traditional power generation.
Along with larger peer E.ON, RWE has suffered
from weaker energy demand in Europe and a massive expansion of
renewable energy at home, making many of its coal and gas plants
RWE was forced to take nearly 5 billion euros ($6.91
billion) in impairment charges on its coal and gas plants,
pushing the company last year to its first annual net loss in
more than six decades.
Chief Executive Peter Terium, tasked with finding a new
strategy for Germany's second-largest utility by market value,
signalled that the worst was behind the company.
"We do not expect the dramatic trends of recent years to
continue to quite the same extent," Terium said at RWE's annual
shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
"Based on what we know now, we expect our net income to
largely stabilise, although at a lower level than in previous
years," he said.
RWE shares were up 0.8 percent in afternoon trading.
The expansion most notably of solar power has hit utilities
across Europe, flooding a market already suffering from
overcapacity and forcing energy firms to tap new growth areas,
including helping clients save energy rather than use more.
Highlighting the need to foster ties with household clients,
RWE said it had entered into cooperation with a maker of smart
thermostats and smoke alarms, Nest Labs Inc, which was taken
over by Google for $3.2 billion earlier this
Terium said RWE's British unit npower was the only utility
in the UK to sell Nest's Learning Thermostat, which tracks
household energy usage and employs the data to automatically set
temperatures, helping to cut heating bills by up to one fifth.
"We are confident that the thermostat is the right product
not only for the UK but also for our other markets in Europe,"
Terium said, without disclosing further details on the
Npower is one of the big six suppliers in Britain, where it
has about 3.6 million customers.
RWE is also banking on being refunded nuclear fuel tax
payments it has made in the past, taking heart from a
preliminary decision by a Hamburg court this week that said
utilities should be reimbursed.
RWE has so far paid about 900 million euros in such taxes.
Terium said the levy would continue to affect it until
Germany's Federal Constitutional Court or the European Court of
Justice rule on the matter, something he does not expect to
happen this year.
($1 = 0.7234 Euros)
(Editing by Maria Sheahan and Tom Pfeiffer)