European Utilities Correspondent
Peter's Feed
May 8, 2012

Safe as houses? Rising prices fuel German ‘bubble’ angst

FRANKFURT, May 8 (Reuters) – Einar Skjerven wants to spend
71 million euros ($93 million) on apartments in Berlin for
German and Austrian clients, but decided to hold off after
prices surged in a city long famed for its cheap, abundant
housing.

House prices elsewhere in Germany have also accelerated
after years of stagnation, prompting fears in some quarters of a
real estate ‘bubble’ in a country deeply sensitive about any
sign of inflation. Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, has
said it will monitor prices “very closely”.

May 8, 2012

Spanish builder ACS faces further rise in debt

FRANKFURT/MADRID, May 8 (Reuters) – Spanish builder ACS
reported a 73 percent rise in first-quarter profits on
Tuesday, boosted by the consolidation of results from its German
affiliate Hochtief, but a rise in debt means the group
needs to sell more assets, analysts said.

Chief Executive Florentino Perez is aiming to reduce its net
debt to less than three times earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortisation.

May 3, 2012

HeidelbergCement lifts prices to stem cost surge

FRANKFURT, May 3 (Reuters) – German cement maker
HeidelbergCement joined peers in raising prices after
posting a 77 percent decline in operating profit in the first
quarter, a bigger fall than expected due to higher energy costs.

Operating profit in the first three months of the year
declined to 14 million euros ($18 million) from 60 million euros
a year earlier, the company said on Thursday.

Apr 10, 2012

Cerberus close to 900 mln euro German property deal

FRANKFURT, April 10 (Reuters) – Cerberus has joined
the growing list of private equity firms looking into German
property as it is close to buying 22,000 German flats from
Speymill Deutsche Immobilien (SDIC) for some 900 million euros
($1.2 billion).

Ernst & Young has been mandated to sell the apartments for
SDIC as the rents no longer provided sufficient guarantees for
SDIC’s lenders, SDIC Company Secretary Nigel Caine told Reuters
on Tuesday.

Mar 21, 2012

Bilfinger Berger banks on takeovers for profit growth

MANNHEIM, March 21 (Reuters) – Bilfinger Berger,
Germany’s second-largest building company, is banking on
takeovers in Asia away from its traditional construction
business to reach its 2016 earnings goal, it said on Wednesday.

The company, based in the southern German city of Mannheim,
said it aims to increase its profitability, measured as adjusted
net income as a percentage of output, to at least 3.3 percent in
2016 from 2.6 percent in 2011.

Mar 15, 2012

HeidelbergCement caps energy costs to bolster profit

HEIDELBERG, Germany, March 15 (Reuters) – German
cement maker HeidelbergCement is getting its energy
costs under control and is raising prices, allowing the company
to predict profitability will remain at least on last year’s
level when it was among the highest in the industry.

Profit and sales will climb for a third year in a row in
2012, forecast Bernd Scheifele, Chief Executive of the 139
year-old company, declining to be more specific.

Feb 29, 2012

Hochtief and Holcim seek solace in Asia in 2012

DUESSELDORF/ZURICH, Feb 29 (Reuters) – German builder Hochtief
(HOTG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) and Swiss cement maker Holcim (HOLN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) are banking on a growing
number of building projects in Asia to drive demand in 2012, after charges at
both companies hit earnings last year.

Infrastructure and residential construction projects in the Asia Pacific
region will buoy demand for building materials, said Holcim, which expects to
grow operating profit this year, excluding acquisitions.

Feb 21, 2012

Wienerberger to remain profitable in 2012

VIENNA, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Austria’s Wienberger
, the world’s largest brickmaker, expects to remain
profitable this year, helped by higher prices and demand from
homebuilders in France and Germany, after earning more than
expected in 2011.

The Vienna-based company did not provide a detailed outlook
for 2012 after posting 2011 net profit of 41 million euros
($54.39 million), up from a 35 million euro loss a year earlier.

Nov 10, 2011

RWE breaks free from some expensive gas contracts

FRANKFURT, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Germany’s RWE
is set to make big savings after amending some
contracts that forced it to buy gas at prices higher than it
could sell it for.

As a result of those contracts, which tied the gas price to
the oil price, the utility lost hundreds of millions of euros,
as did peers such as E.ON or GDF Suez.

Nov 4, 2011

Analysis – Germany’s nuclear exit no threat to power supply

FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – Germany has enough power capacity to make up for its planned exit from nuclear energy while ongoing grid and renewables expansion makes a supply surplus likely until at least 2020.

The country’s electricity consumption is around 550 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year and the outlook is stable, according to data from renewable energy association BDEW.