June 8, 2016 / 4:57 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-E.ON shareholders back Uniper spin-off plan

* Split approved by 99.68 pct of shareholders

* CEO expects move to attract new investors

* Fund manager says split provides greater transparency (Adds vote result, CEO, shareholder quotes)

ESSEN, Germany, June 8 (Reuters) - E.ON shareholders approved Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen’s plans to spin off Uniper, the operator of its conventional energy business, by a large majority on Wednesday.

Germany’s biggest utility is charting out a new path in challenging times for the industry, which is struggling to cope with multi-year low energy prices and renewables squeezing out conventional plants. At the same time, demand is weak demand and retail energy margins narrow.

“We intend to undertake the largest transaction of Europe’s recent industrial history. It would create nothing less than a new E.ON, a company fully dedicated to the energy future,” Teyssen said at the annual shareholders’ meeting in Essen.

The shareholders approved the plan with 99.68 percent, much more than the 75 percent needed.

“The split provides a more incisive business model and greater transparency,” said Thomas Deser, a portfolio manager at Union Investment, which holds about 1 percent stake in E.ON and is among the top 20 investors.

E.ON will continue to focus mainly on the green energy business while Uniper will take ownership of the ailing coal and gas power stations. Teyssen expects the move to attract new investors. (Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey; Editing by Andreas Cremer and Georgina Prodhan)

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