Vattenfall to invest 3 billion euros in Germany: CEO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall [VATN.UL] plans to invest 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in Germany over the next few years, its chief executive said in Thursday’s edition of German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Vattenfall logo is seen on its headquaters in Stockholm, Sweden April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pontus Lundahl/TT News Agency/File Photo

Most of the money would be invested to support the energy transition of Berlin towards renewables, CEO Magnus Hall was quoted as saying.

Other German cities also provided room for growth when it came to operating district heating grids and the decentralized supply of energy and heat, he told the paper.

“In addition, there will be a lot of growth in wind power in Germany in the coming years,” Hall said.

The utility is committed to cutting its carbon emissions significantly to become a green energy provider by 2050 at the latest.

In mid-April, Czech investor EPH agreed to buy Vattenfall’s loss-making lignite coal mines and associated power plants in Germany which the Swedish firm had been operating since the 1990s and dropped after its focus on green energy.

Hall said there was “no reason to doubt” EPH’s expertise.

The deal, which is subject to government and regulatory approval, is opposed by environmentalists in Germany and Sweden, who object to keeping the highly carbon-polluting technology.

Vattenfall was waiting for the Swedish government to give the green light, Hall said.

The deal is expected to cut Vattenfall’s carbon emissions to below 25 million tonnes per year from over 80 million tonnes now.

“We expect antitrust approval by the European Commission during the course of this summer and after that the sale should be completed by August 31,” Hall told Handelsblatt.

Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Dale Hudson