FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Innogy (IGY.DE), Germany’s largest energy group, plans to spend the 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) it raised last month in a stock listing on growth projects rather than big acquisitions.
“The 2 billion (euros) have been budgeted for the next two to three years,” Innogy Chief Executive Peter Terium said at the ICFW journalist club on Tuesday.
“And we do not want to stick money under the mattress for acquisitions because we don’t want to present surprises to our shareholders,” he added.
Small bolt-on acquisitions were still possible, Terium said, pointing to the recent purchase of energy storage and photovoltaics group Belectric, which Innogy bought for less than 100 million euros.
German utility RWE listed a minority holding in Innogy, which comprises its networks, retail and renewables operations, raising 4.6 billion euros in Germany’s largest IPO since 2000.
Of the proceeds, 2.6 billion euros went to cash-strapped RWE, which retains a 76.8 percent stake in Innogy.
“This means that it (RWE) has sufficient liquidity to cope with the next few difficult years in conventional generation,” said Terium, who served as RWE’s CEO until mid-October.
The breakup was a response to years of falling wholesale power prices, which badly hurt RWE’s profits and forced it to cut jobs, dividends and investments, which in turn prevented it from strongly expanding growth businesses such as renewables.
“I don’t want to be a prophet of doom but if all things had gone against us, RWE would have faced liquidity troubles,” Terium said.
Terium said he saw no risk to the expansion of renewables under U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, whose victory this month has raised concerns over the future of wind and solar in the world’s largest economy.
“A Trump in the White House does not make a difference, because the energy turnaround in the United States takes place in California, it takes place in Texas, where wind turbines are being built ... It’s irreversible.”
Innogy, which is closely looking at the U.S. onshore market, is also banking on an initiative by carmakers to invest in thousands of fast-charging sites for electric cars across Europe, Terium said, hoping it will be chosen as a supplier.
Terium said he was confident Innogy will be included in Germany’s midcap index .MDAXI following next month’s review by stock market operator Deutsche Boerse, adding a membership in the large-cap DAX required RWE’s stake to fall to 55-60 percent.
Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Alexander Smith