* UK retail units turn in profits one year ahead
* E.ON is proposing a dividend of 47 euro cents for 2020
* Adj EBIT seen at 3.8 billion-4 billion euros by 2021 (Adding CEO quote, UK context)
FRANKFURT, March 24 (Reuters) – E.ON, Germany’s largest listed energy group, said on Wednesday that its UK retail business is recovering faster than expected, and proposed higher dividends due to the limited impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Amid the biggest economic crisis since World War II, the new E.ON is showing its strength in impressive ways,” said Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen, who will hand over reins to Leonhard Birnbaum in April after 11 years in charge, said.
During his tenure, E.ON separated the former Uniper power generation division in response to Germany’s nuclear shutdown, and agreed to a major asset swap with RWE, turning it into Europe’s largest energy grid operator.
UK’s E.ON retail unit, which includes the Npower brand it acquired as part of the exchange, is likely to generate profits of more than 100 million pounds ($ 137 million) this year, one year ahead of schedule.
“The turnaround in Britain is a success,” Teyssen said.
In the UK, E.ON’s second largest market after Germany, the group still lost around 600,000 clients, or 5.5%, during 2020 as part of its ongoing restructuring.
E.ON said it would propose a dividend of 0.47 euros for 2020, up slightly from 0.46 euros in 2019.
Adjusted operating profit (EBIT) rose 17% to 3.78 billion euros in 2020, while adjusted net profit rose 7% to 1.64 billion, said E.ON. They are seen at 3.8 billion-4 billion euros and 1.7 billion-1.9 billion euros in 2021, respectively.
($ 1 = 0.7294 pounds)
$ 1 = 0.8449 euros Reported by Christoph Steitz and Tom Kaeckenhoff; Additional reporting by Vera Eckert; Edited by Riham Alkousaa, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jan Harvey