E.ON shareholders vote to split the utility into two businesses

E.ON shareholders vote to split the utility into two businesses

Prospect represents the majority of employees at Uniper, the new spinoff, in the UK and will meet senior managers later this week to discuss the company’s business strategy


E.ON shareholders voted yesterday at an annual general meeting in Essen to split the German-based utility into two businesses. It has been described as the most far-reaching corporate restructuring in that country for decades and comes in response to the shift to clean energy.

E.ON SE will focus on renewables, networks and customer services, while the spinoff, a new business called Uniper, will manage conventional power generation (including coal and gas-fired stations), global energy trading and global engineering services.

Prospect represents the majority of employees at Uniper in the UK and will meet senior managers later this week to discuss its business strategy. The union and representatives engage extensively with the business in negotiations and consultation, and provide professional advice and representation to members on an individual basis.

Prospect negotiator Steve Thomas said: “Prospect recognises that Uniper is operating in challenging market conditions and faces political and regulatory pressures. It will be looking to help the utility to thrive while working constructively with it to safeguard and develop employees’ careers.

“This is in accordance with a mandate from the 2015 branch annual meeting for the union to oppose a company split if it was at the expense of terms and conditions, pension provision and job losses.”

E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen, who has worked at the company for 27 years and been at the helm for six, called the Uniper spinoff an “epochal event”. It is the result of a strategy that was unveiled in 2014 and allows the spinoff of Uniper to take place over the rest of the year, with listing possible as early as August.

E.ON, which by its own admission focuced on fossil fuels for too long because they were profitable, proposed the spinoff as a result of financial pressure. A surge in renewable energy capacity, Germany’s decision to close down all its nuclear power stations by 2022 – making utilities legally liable for the associated decommissioning costs – and an oversupply of energy in Europe all combined to force E.ON to rethink its strategy.

Prospect has up to 1,000 members employed by E.ON UK and Uniper and represents engineering, technical and managerial staff as well as professionals in customer service and sales.

Members play vital roles in the safe maintenance and production of coal and gas-fired stations, research and development of new technologies, management of infrastructure and the environment, as well as commodity trading.

E.ON supports trade union membership by its employees and is keen that members should take an active part in their union.