E.ON expects hit from coronavirus pandemic, keeps 2020 outlook

FILE PHOTO: An electric car at a charging station in front of the headquarters of German utility E.ON in Essen, Germany, May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German energy firm E.ON on Tuesday said it was not immune to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, expecting a hit of up to 99 million euros ($107 million) in 2020 as power consumption falls.

The news came as E.ON, Europe’s largest operator of energy networks, reported first-quarter adjusted operating earnings jumped by nearly a quarter to 1.46 billion euros, boosted by the takeover of the grid and retail assets of Innogy.

The group confirmed its outlook for the current year, still expecting adjusted earnings before interest and tax of 3.9-4.1 billion euros, but cautioned this did not include risks from the pandemic that may materialise in the course of the year.

“At the first-quarter mark, however, the pandemic’s overall implications for the company cannot yet be reliably estimated,” the group said, adding it would invest an additional 500 million in climate-friendly upgrades to energy infrastructure.

More than 80% of E.ON’s profits are generated by regulated assets, such as gas and electricity grids, giving it a more resilient business model than industrial groups such as carmakers.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Michelle Martin