March 7, 2014 / 9:36 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-German power utilty EnBW warns of further profit fall in 2014

* EBITDA down 5.3 pct in 2013, could fall another 5 pct 2014

* EnBW tries to stem decline by refocusing on renewable power, energy services (Adds further details, background)

By Vera Eckert

FRANKFURT, March 7 (Reuters) - EnBW, Germany’s third-biggest power utility, reported a 5.3 percent drop in underlying profits on Friday and warned of a similar possible fall this year as its conventional plants struggle to compete with subsidised renewable power.

The group said its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 2.22 billion euros ($3.07 billion) in 2013 and could decline further, by up to 5 percent, in 2014.

Like bigger rivals E.ON and RWE, EnBW has been hit by low wholesale power prices, pushed down by renewable output from solar and wind generation and biomass-fuelled thermal plants, as well as relatively weak demand.

It is trying to adapt to Germany’s wholesale transformation of its power industry by selling various assets worth up to 2.7 billion euros and expanding instead in renewable power and in providing energy services.

EnBW said that this year it will increase its target for installing new onshore wind turbine capacity to 1,000 megawatts (MW) in Germany, and has recently signed a contract for 207 MW of capacity in Turkey.

It also aims to gradually bring onstream its German offshore wind park Baltic 2 in the Baltic Sea and will start up its long- planned new hard coal-fired plant in Karlsruhe, RDK 8, with 874 MW of generating capacity, later this year.

Meanwhile EnBW is still embroiled in a row with the German energy industry regulator over whether it may or may not shut down five older unprofitable oil, gas and coal-fired plants totalling a 688 MW of capacity and has said it wishes to close two more with a combined 250 MW of capacity.

Bigger sector peer RWE on Tuesday posted its first loss in over six decades, also reflecting the deep crisis facing the German industry. ($1=0.7225 euros) (Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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