Giant German power producer RWE has posted its first annual net loss in more than 60 years.
It had to write down five billion euros in 2013 because an increase in solar and wind generated electricity undercut the profitability of its power plants.
RWE’s net loss was 2.76 billion euros – down from a profit of 1.31 billion a year earlier.
It has focused on coal- and gas-fired plants rather than solar and wind produced energy which are given priority access to German power grids.
Many of Europe’s big power producers have been slow to respond to a fast-growing renewable sector and have also been hit by weak energy demand and record-low wholesale power prices.
Last week, a 15 billion euro writedown dragged French peer GDF Suez deep into the red and the company warned that the crisis in the European utilities sector would last for a long time.
“In the coming years, our power plants will earn even less than feared. We had to account for that in our annual results,” RWE Chief Executive Peter Terium said in RWE’s 2013 report.
Terium added that the group may decide to close or mothball further plants this year, after having announced such plans for more than 5,000 MW, or nearly 10 percent of its total capacity.
RWE is also burdened by 30.1 billion euros of debt and has suffered a 71 percent plunge in its shares since their peak in 2008.
It is looking for several ways to raise cash, including asking shareholders for provisional approval for a share issue of up to 20 percent of its existing share capital, or as much as 3.5 billion at RWE’s current share price.