Oldenburg, Germany, 11 July 2008. EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG is the new strategic partner of the EWE utility Group, based in Oldenburg. EWE AG’s shareholders, Supervisory Board and Board of Management decided yesterday to agree to EnBW acquiring a 26% equity share in EWE AG. The entry will take the form of an equity purchase and a capital increase. The total volume of the transaction amounts to around two billion euros. The two partners plan in the years ahead to cooperate among other things on renewable energies, in the gas sector and in international activities. EnBW will also assist EWE in developing own conventional power generation. The move is still to be approved by the German Federal Cartel Office in Bonn.
“We have found the best partner for all concerned – for EWE, for the shareholders, the employees, the region and the customers”, said Henning Schultz, managing director of Ems-Weser-Elbe Versorgungs- und Entsorgungsverband, the body that comprises EWE AG’s shareholders as well as 21 rural and urban administrative districts in northwest Germany. “EnBW’s local authority shareholders in particular hold forth the promise of a retention of EWE’s strong regional roots”, Schultz continued. “We are also following in the footsteps of a tried and trusted position – the local authorities’ strategic partnership with E.ON until 2003”, EWE Supervisory Board chairman Günther Boekhoff added. In 2003 E.ON was obliged to relinquish its longstanding commitments to EWE as a precondition for ministerial authorisation of the merger with Ruhrgas. The local authorities had agreed when buying back E.ON’s equity share, Boekhoff continued, that they would be looking in the medium term for another partner in the energy industry.
EWE Chief Executive Officer Dr. Werner Brinker noted how important a partner’s commitment was. Access to electricity and gas production capacities, he said, was growing increasingly important – and increasingly difficult – in a market characterised by fiercer competition. Access to natural gas was covered by the equity holding in Leipzig gas dealer VNG AG. With EnBW support had now been agreed for developing own conventional power generation capacity for EWE. “That makes the partnership very important, not only for the company but also for our customers”, Dr. Brinker said, hinting at further cooperation opportunities in other areas. Joint commitments were possible in Turkey and for building natural gas storage facilities.
“The partnership between EnBW and EWE is an important signal for Germany as an energy production location and strengthens it as such. It is a strategic partnership and opens up an opportunity for further sustainable development for both companies in a European energy market that is characterised by ongoing concentration. As a strategic partner of EWE we aim to bring our strengths into the partnership, to harness numerous synergy potentials for both companies and to press ahead jointly with the further development of central business segments. I see development potential and areas for cooperation in energy generation, in joint international acquisitions and in the gas segment”, said Hans-Peter Villis, Chief Executive Officer of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG.
Brinker and Schultz stressed that they had discussed partnerships with many major European utilities in recent years. The basic requirement for approval of an entry had been that the partner must complement EWE’s business well and accept and pursue EWE’s multi-service strategy. “That includes in particular the combination of energy, telecommunications and information technology as a precondition for intelligent energy supplies in the future”, Dr. Brinker said.
The governing bodies of the two companies have already approved the transaction. The German Federal Cartel Office will be examining the partnership in the months ahead.
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EWE, headquartered in Oldenburg, is one of Germany's largest utility companies. Its range of goods and services includes electricity, gas and water supplies, energy and environmental technology, gas transportation and trading, and telecommunications and information technology. Thus, EWE provides a range of classical and innovative services at one source. EWE's network infrastructure is characterised by a high level of technical quality, security of supplies and economically efficient operation. EWE extended its core competences at an early stage to include the operation of complex networks and provide comprehensive control and telecontrol engineering know-how in a future-oriented, multi-service offering. In addition to its established business activities in northern Germany, EWE also conducts business successfully in eastern Germany, Poland and Turkey. The EWE Group employed circa 4,700 staff members at the end of 2007 and recorded sales of EUR 4.7 bn.
EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, headquartered in Karlsruhe, is Germany’s third-largest power utility with around six million customers. In 2007 EnBW and its more than 20,000 employees generated about EUR 14.7 bn in annual sales. The company’s core activities are concentrated on the electricity and gas segments and on energy and environmental services.
Traditionally EnBW has firm roots in Baden-Württemberg. In addition, it does business throughout Germany and in other markets in Central and Eastern Europe. EnBW operates conventional power stations and nuclear power stations. The usage of hydroelectric power also has a longstanding tradition at EnBW. Renewable energies are seen as an opportunity for economic growth and for the environment. Local power and heat generation will also have an important role to play in the future.