FRANKFURT (Reuters) - RWE is open to talks with the government about setting up a public foundation to fund the decommissioning of the country’s nuclear plants, the German utility’s finance chief was quoted saying by daily Boersen-Zeitung on Saturday.
“There has to be a judicious balance of giving and taking,” Bernhard Guenther told the paper. “We’ve always said we are ready for talks anytime.”
RWE and sector peers E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall [VATN.UL] are scheduled to switch off their nuclear plants by an accelerated 2022 deadline, set after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.
But this is a costly process and a March report commissioned by the government said German taxpayers could end up spending billions of euros to help close the country’s nuclear plants, as current private-sector funding of 36 billion euros ($42 billion) risks falling short.
RWE’s Guenther added that the assets underpinning the 10 billion euros worth of provisions that RWE has set aside for dismantling its power plants were not at risk of losing their value.
“Financial investments and our operating business secure our ability to honor the provisions in the future,” he said.
The CFO also said RWE’s conventional power generation business, hit by a drop in wholesale power prices, would likely see falling earnings in 2015 and 2016 but not beyond.
Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Holmes