The head of German utility E.ON, Johannes Teyssen, says a record $17bn loss by the company marks a new chapter in the company’s evolution.Johannes Teyssen

E.ON’s management has vowed to cut debt by up to EUR20m as impairments on its former power plant business, Uniper, continued to have a huge effect on the company’s accounts. The loss represents more than the company’s present market value.

“2016 was a transitional year. The impact on our balance sheet marks a turning point and clears E.ON’s way into the new energy world,” Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said in a statement on Wednesday.

E.ON will now consider selling stakes in Uniper and will also cull its labour force in an attempt to adapt out of the transitional period.

The group said it planned to lower debt to about EUR20bn over the medium-term, compared with EUR26bn at the end of 2016, by selling further stakes in Uniper and shifting its stake in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to a pension fund.