Stockholm - Swedish state-owned energy group Vattenfall on Tuesday reported a 37 per cent drop in third-quarter operating profits, citing lower electricity demand amidst the recession.
Operating profit before tax and interest was 3.5 billion kronor (514 million dollars), down 37 per cent year-on-year while net profits shrank nearly 75 per cent to 622 million kronor.
Operating and maintenance costs were 1.7 billion kronor.
Third-quarter 2009 turnover increased by 22 per cent to 45.3 billion kronor, Vattenfall said.
"Demand for electricity has fallen as companies are cutting back and reassessing their production," Chief Executive Lars G Josefsson said in a comment.
Josefsson later told analysts it will be "a slow recovery" in the Nordic region but "quicker in Europe."
He said the group was to scale back its investment programme and continue its price hedging policy.
During the quarter the acquisition of Dutch group Nuon was completed.
Vattenfall's electricity production - including Nuon - decreased 1 per cent in the quarter. If Nuon was not counted in, the decrease was 9 per cent over lower hydropower and nuclear power production.
Vattenfall's Central Europe business was affected by the standstill of the Brunsbuettel and Kruemmel nuclear plants in Germany.
Brunsbuettel has been off-line since June 2007 while Kruemmel shut down again in July after an almost two-year outage.
Josefsson said he could not say when the plants would be back on line.
Costs for the standstill of the plants were estimated at 284 million kronor for the nine-month period.
Vattenfall, which has operations in the Nordic region, Germany and Poland, had some 40,000 employees at the end of September including the addition of some 6,100 Nuon employees in the Benelux region. (dpa)
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