(Bloomberg) -- RWE AG shares rallied after activist investor Enkraft Capital GmbH renewed its call for the German utility to boost its valuation by splitting off its lignite activities.
“There’s an urgency for RWE’s management to initiate the separation of its lignite business,” Benedikt Kormaier, Enkraft’s managing director, said in a phone interview on Thursday. The stock climbed as much as 2.8% to 36.76 euros, heading for the highest close in a year.
“Shareholders will need to assess whether changes to RWE’s corporate governance and/or management are required to ensure the long-term success of the firm,” Kormaier said.
Enkraft, which has agitated for change at other energy suppliers including wind-farm operator PNE AG, wants new blood on RWE’s supervisory board, to reflect the “growing green” strategy it has adopted, Manager Magazin reported earlier on Thursday. Kormaier told the publication he’s considering a proposal to seek replacements for Erhard Schipporeit and Hans-Peter Keitel on the oversight committee at the April 28 shareholder meeting.
It’s not the first time Enkraft, which holds 0.07% of RWE’s share capital, has urged the company to accelerate its transition to clean power, a transformation the investor estimates could lead to a doubling in value. RWE, with a market capitalization of 24.8 billion euros ($28 billion), has delivered average returns of almost 28% a year for the past five years, twice that of the Stoxx Europe 600 Utilities Index.
RWE’s management has signaled its openness to an earlier phase-out of the lignite operations, while cautioning that it needs to first consult with Germany’s new government, which has floated the idea of creating a foundation to oversee the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants and open-cast mines, Reuters reported earlier this week.
RWE wasn’t immediately available for comment, when contacted by Bloomberg.
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