Stockholm-based Vattenfall AB, the Nordic region’s largest utility, will invest less and push through deeper cost cuts after writing down the value of its assets in northern Europe by 29.7 bln. kronor ($4.59 bln), the company said within its today’s 2Q13 results.
Vattenfall said the write-downs announced today include 14.5 billion kronor relating to hard coal and gas power plants in the Netherlands, 4.1 billion kronor for hard coal power plants in Germany and 2.5 billion kronor for combined heat and power plants in the Nordic countries. It also reported impairments of 6.8 billion kronor on goodwill, mainly at its trading operations.
Vattenfall also announced that, after being affected by “increasingly gloomy market prospects”, it now “makes the assessment that the market will not recover in the foreseeable future”.
Vattenfall wrote-down 6% of its asset base. Although there is no evidence at the moment, we see a risk that other European utilities may write-down its power generating assets in the future. Therefore, we recommend being cautious especially before German utilities result releases (E.ON on Aug-13, (23,45 EUR, 1,43%) on Aug-14) as both companies also must run a number of unprofitable gas and hard-coal power plants. Vattenfall’s statement about „not-recovering power market“ is just confirming our L-T negative stance on overall Pan-European sector, especially CE region. Please note, CEZ has just finished 17 bln. CZK investment of 880 MW CCGT in Pocerady and the company said earlier it is not able to run the power plant at the moment due to unfavourable market conditions (i.e. negative spark-spread).