May 9, 2014 / 7:56 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-German utility EnBW first-quarter profit falls 15 pct

* Q1 adjusted EBITDA 745 million euros, down 15 percent

* Still expected adj EBITDA to fall by up to 5 pct in 2014

* Hit by weak prices, mild winter, ailing coal and gas plants (Recasts, adds details on industry)

FRANKFURT, May 9 (Reuters) - EnBW, Germany’s third-biggest utility, said its core profit fell 15 percent in the first quarter, weighed down by a mild winter, lower wholesale power prices and a rise in renewable capacity that has hit its thermal power plants.

First-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) declined to 745 million euros ($1.03 billion), the group said on Friday.

It still expects adjusted EBITDA to fall by up to 5 percent this year.

German utilities are facing a structural crisis, after low demand for energy in Europe plus uncontrolled expansion of solar and wind power have hurt their conventional power plants - once the backbone of their business.

EnBW, along with larger peers E.ON and RWE , is having to spend more money on new businesses - including renewables and energy efficiency - at a time when the group is struggling with 6.9 billion euros in net debt.

In an effort to raise cash, the company has embarked on a 2.7 billion euro asset disposal programme, including its 22.48 percent stake in local peer MVV as well as its 32.5-percent stake in Austria’s EVN AG.

Chief Executive Frank Mastiaux, who joined the group after heading E.ON’s renewable and international businesses, has pledged to shift the company away from being a pure generator of energy and towards a service provider, helping customers to manage and reduce energy consumption.

EnBW is 46.75-percent owned by the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and another 46.75 percent is held by nine of the German state’s municipalities, leaving it with a free float of 0.39 percent.

$1 = 0.7214 Euros Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman

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