May 8, 2018 / 6:29 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Uniper takes charge as troubled Datteln 4 plant delayed to 2020

* Datteln 4 delay causes 270 mln eur impairment

* Plant expected to start in summer 2020

* Shares indicated 2.8 pct lower (Recasts, adds shares, details on Datteln 4)

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, May 8 (Reuters) - Uniper said it would replace the boiler walls at its Datteln 4 hard-coal power plant, triggering a hefty impairment charge and effectively delaying the station’s commissioning to summer 2020, nine years after it was supposed to enter service.

Shares in the group were indicated to open 2.8 percent lower at the bottom of Germany’s midcap index after the group said the replacement would cause a 270 million euro ($322 million) charge.

The boiler was supplied by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, which is a 65-35 joint venture between Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Hitachi. Replacing such a component can cost a low triple-digit million euro sum.

Uniper had in March warned of further delays to the start-up of Datteln 4, citing damage to the boiler during component tests that required the individual inspection of about 35,000 welding seams.

“Initial supportable findings from the analysis of the extent and causes of the damage to the boiler unit indicate that the boiler walls will have to be replaced to remedy the damages,” Uniper said in its quarterly report on Tuesday.

Datteln 4, which was originally scheduled to open in 2011, has been a major headache for Uniper, suffering several delays and swallowing 1.2 billion euros in investment so far.

The company said, however, that the charge would not affect its full-year outlook. It said it continued to anticipate adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 0.8-1.1 billion euros in 2018.

First quarter adjusted EBIT was 350 million euros, down from 514 million euros in the same period a year earlier and slightly below the 362 million average forecast in a Reuters poll. ($1 = 0.8390 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Tom Kaeckenhoff; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Maria Sheahan)

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