Swedish state-owned energy utility Vattenfall has dismissed speculation that will sell its European assets after reporting a $2.33bn loss in 2013.

Reuters reports that the company dismissed talk that it was in discussions to sell its struggling European assets after huge write-downs pushed it into a full year loss and stopped it paying a dividend to its owner, the Swedish state, for the first time.

Vattenfall cited “challenging market conditions” as a key factor in the result and CEO Oystein Loseth said it was looking at the possibility of bringing in investors to “share risk” in its continental and UK businesses, but that Sweden had not made a decision on this.
Oystein Loseth
“We have stated earlier that this is a decision for the owner and we have no processes ongoing to look for investors at the moment,”

Last year’s loss comes after 2012, a year when Vattenfall reported a $2.77bn profit. Part of the big difference between the two years is explained by the positive effect during the fourth quarter in 2012, when corporate tax was lowered in Sweden.

Mr Loseth added that, “the whole traditional business model, based on large scale electricity production in conventional power stations, is being challenged.”

Despite financial performance suffering Europe’s sixth largest producer of electricity saw sales and power generation increased, the company said in a statement about its 2013 results.

Net sales for the year rose 2.6 per cent and electricity generation increased by 1.6 per cent, said the statement.

Nuclear-power generation reached the second-highest level since the company began those operations 40 years ago, the statement said.

Swedbank credit analyst Ingvar Matsson told Reuters that speculation that Vattenfall would sell the business was a fair conclusion based on the new structure of the company.

“But it would be surprising if anything happened before the next election in Sweden,” he said.

Fossil-based power made up 48 per cent of Vattenfall’s production in 2013, nuclear 29 per cent, hydro power 20 per cent and renewables just 3 per cent.

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