Swedish power company Vattenfall has announced it will slash thousands of jobs by 2015, with Germany to be most affected by the cuts. The utility firm said it had to face up to low electricity prices and overcapacities.
Swedish utility company Vattenfall on Wednesday said it would have to lay off 2,500 employees by the end of 2014. It added that the job cuts would be required to reduce costs by 4.5 billion kronor ($700 million, 537 million euros).
Vattenfall announced the downsizing would primarily affect its administrative divisions, with 1,500 people to be laid off in Germany, 400 in Sweden and 50 more in a number of other countries.
CEO Oeystein Loeseth blamed the move on low electricity prices, production overcapacity and too many carbon dioxide emissions allowances on the European market.
In the line of fire
"This new reality requires efforts in further improving our efficiency and strengthening our financial position," Loeseth commented on behalf of a company which supplies electricity to almost eight million customers in northern Europe.
Vattenfall is the fourth-largest generator of electricity in Germany where it has come under massive criticism from environmental pressure groups for banking too heavily on coal-fired plants.
"Back home in Sweden, it's also quite hard to communicate why we have to focus on coal in Germany," spokesman Ivo Banek told DPA news agency. "But Germany needs coal [as nuclear is being phased out], and we need the profit from it to be able to invest more in renewable energies."
hg/hc (AP, dpa)