RWE restructures as outlook dims for energy in Europeà‚ 

Facing fiercer competition in Europe’s energy market, utility giant RWE is planning a reorganization to cut overheads and enhance customer contact.

German operations, which will be united under Rheinland Westfalen Netz AG, are the main focus of a streamlining of the group’s businesses that RWE has presented as a continuation of a policy initiated in 2007.

“It’s about reducing the share of central interface and administrative functions to make way for more business-focused tasks with operational responsibility,” said CEO Dr. Juergen Grossmann.

Group Holding’s headcount will be trimmed to about 400 and about half its deparments will be shed, with the restructuring due to take effect at the start of next year.

Growth sectors such as RWE Innogy and RWE Effizienz will take on tasks from Group Holding. National companies in Central, Eastern and Southern will be pooled under RWE East, to be based in Prague.

E.ON U.S. sale to PPL Corp approved

The Kentucky Public Service Commission approved the proposed sale of E.ON U.S., the parent company of Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities, to PPL Corp.

The commission’s approval is subject to PPL’s acceptance of all conditions, including additional conditions related to continued operation of LG&E as both an electric and gas utility, regulatory authority regarding provisions of the order, and a requirement that PPL submit reports on its energy conservation and efficiency efforts in other states in which it operates.

PPL Corp. said it intends to accept all conditions.

In August, PPL received antitrust clearance for the acquisition from the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

ABB to pay $58m to settle bribery charges

ABB has agreed to pay more than $58m to resolve criminal and civil charges over alleged bribes and kickbacks in Mexico and Iraq, according to the Financial Times.

The Swiss-Swedish engineering group had been charged by the US for violating its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Prosecutors made accusations of “concealed, corrupt payments” to officials at a state-owned Mexican electric utility as well as payment of over $300 000 to the former Iraqi government to win orders under the United Nations’ food-for-oil programme.

ABB agreed to pay $19m in criminal penalties and $39.3m to settle a parallel civil probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the newspaper. The company neither confirmed nor denied wrongdoing in settling the action.

Gazprom set to combine and float its power assets to form giant genco

Russia’s state energy company plans to combine its many power production assets under a single entity that it would float on the stock market, according to the British financial newspaper City A.M.

Unifying these assets would create Russia’s second-biggest power producer after state-controlled RusHydro, Renaissance Capital analyst Vladimir Sklyar told the newspaper. The consolidation would be done under Gazprom Energo Holding, the firm’s power division, the group told an investor presentation.

Gazprom’s four power generation companies provide 17 per cent of Russia’s electricity and the company plans to boost their combined generating capacity by 8.8 GW through an investment of RUB365.5bn ($11.8bn).

GE buys Dresser in $3bn deal

GE is aquiring Dresser Incorporated, a global energy infrastructure technology and service provider, in a deal worth in the region of $3bn.

Dresser’s portfolio includes technologies for gas engines, control and relief valves, measurement, regulation and control solutions for gas and fuel distribution. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close promptly after receiving regulatory approval.

John Krenicki, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Energy, said “Dresser’s technology complements our existing gas engine portfolio and adds offerings complementary to GE in the $45bn flow technology industry, including in the highly engineered valve segment.”

Samsung SDI signs deal for move into grid storage

AES Energy Storage and Samsung SDI are to work together on storage systems for electric grids.

Samsung SDI plans to supply an initial 20 MW of battery systems to AES Energy Storage.

“This agreement will be a good opportunity for Samsung SDI to expand its business portfolio from small-sized batteries for IT application and EV batteries to energy storage systems,” said Jin-Gun Lee, Samsung SDI’s senior executive vice president.


à‚ BKW wind unit: A ‘Wind International’ business unit will now pool BKW FMB Energy Limited’s international wind operations. The Swiss company aims to build a foreign wind portfolio of 750 MW and has set aside CHF2bn ($2.1bn) for this expansion.

Constellation takeover: The supplier of energy products and services is to boost its generating capacity from 9000 MW up to 1.5 GW by acquiring CPower, an energy management and demand response provider that designs and manages demand response capacity programmes.

Finavera wind sale: Ireland’s largest onshore wind project has moved ahead with Finavera Renewables’ sale of a majority interest in grid connection for the 105 MW Cloosh Valley wind farm to Scottish and Southern Energy for €8.4m ($11.6m).

Foster Wheeler centres: Two new power boiler service centres are being set up by Foster Wheeler AG’s Global Power Group in Finland and Germany. Both centres, in Krefeld-Linn in Germany and Kurikka in Finland, should be operational before the end of the year.

GE Turkey deal: GE Energy has bought into Turkish predictive maintenance technology maker Artesis Teknologi Sistemleri. Artesis will now manufacture GE devices including the new AnomAlert.

REpower offshoot: REpower Systems GmbH has been set up as an independent firm to serve REpower’s core markets in Germany and Austria. About 200 employees are transferring to the subsidiary.

RWE Innogy spinoff: Innogy Venture Capital GmbH has been set up to drive investment by Innogy Renewables Technology Fund I GmbH & Co KG, a limited partnership also founded by RWE Innogy. Since its foundation in 2008, RWE Innogy has invested over €50m ($69m) as equity capital in eight young technology companies.

Siemens switchgear revamp: An investment of €100m ($138m) up to 2015 in Siemen’s switchgear plant in Berlin will make it one of the most advanced facilities of its kind. The location will also be a centre for global R&D in high-voltage switchgear engineering.

Turkish grid partnership: Two grids have been taken over by the Turkish firms Limak, Kolin and Cengiz. The Uludag grid was bought for $940m and the Camlibel grid for $258.5m. The deals cover seven provinces and over 5m customers.

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