The boss of German utility RWE has acknowledged that the company faces hard times ahead following the government’s decision to phase out nuclear power.

“The coming years will be difficult for us,” said chief executive Juergen Grossmann. However he added: “I am confident that we will quickly get through the trough ahead of us.”

He was speaking yesterday as he revealed that the nuclear decision – taken in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in March – had negatively impacted RWE’s results for the first nine months of the year.

The company suffered a net loss of EUR174m compared with a profit of EUR594m in the same period last year, while net profit fell 46.2 per cent to EUR1.42bn ($1.92bn), from EUR2.64bn a year earlier.