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German energy giant EON in new strategic focus

Germany energy giant EON said on Wednesday it will sell 15 billion euros' (21 billion dollars') worth of assets in a new strategic focus only on "competitive" markets in Europe and growth elsewhere.

"EON will become more focused and at the same time more international. In Europe, we?re going to concentrate on what we can do best and on areas where we see the biggest opportunities for profitable growth," the firm said.

"Outside Europe, we?re going to achieve additional business growth by deploying our expertise in areas where we?re a true outperformer," chief executive Johannes Teyssen said.

EON did not identify the assets that it aimed to sell but said that the proceeds would help it reduce debt, improve profitability and free up funds to invest elsewhere. It aims to complete the process by 2013.

It also warned of "considerable business challenges" in the years ahead like German plans for a tax on nuclear fuel, the auctioning of EU carbon allowances and tougher conditions in the gas market.

It said its dividend payout to shareholders would fall from 1.50 euros per share this year to 1.30 euros per share for 2011 and 2012.

It also said its 2013 operating profit would be around the same level as in 2010. EON also aims to further enhance its performance through a new, simplified organisational setup and renewed efforts to enhance efficiency.