December 16, 2008 / 11:42 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-RWE ups investment, focus on gas, renewables

* RWE to spend 70 to 80 bln euros in next ten years

* Spending to focus on renewable energy, gas

* Investments to be mostly outside Germany

(Adds comment, details, background)

DUESSELDORF, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Germany’s RWE (RWEG.DE), Europe’s fifth-largest utility, is to boost investment in its existing businesses and in takeovers, focusing spending on natural gas and renewable energies.

The power provider based in northern-Germany plans to invest 70 billion to 80 billion euros ($96 billion-109 billion) in the next ten years, said Leonhard Birnbaum, management board member responsible for strategy. That compares to some 30 billion euros the company is investing in five years through 2012.

“We are determined to use the current crisis as an opportunity,” Birnbaum said on Monday evening in remarks for release on Tuesday.

“Growth will be mostly outside Germany, as the growth markets are outside Germany,” he said.

RWE has either failed to acquire stakes in recent takeovers on the European utility market, such as the sale of British Energy BGY.L, or did not take part in auctions, such as that of Poland’s Enea ENEAa.WA.

Core markets for RWE remain Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, eastern Europe, the Balkans and Turkey, Birnbaum reiterated. (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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