April 26, 2016 / 1:12 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 3-E.ON's Uniper woos investors with cost cuts, asset sales

* Uniper aims for at least 2 bln eur of asset sales by 2018

* Sale likely to include Brazilian business - CEO

* To pay dividend of 200 mln eur for 2016

* E.ON to spin off 53.35 pct of Uniper in first step (Adds more CEO comments, background)

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT, April 26 (Reuters) - Uniper, the power plant and energy trading business being spun off by Germany’s biggest utility E.ON, on Thursday promised cost cuts, asset sales and a dividend in its battle to keep investors onboard despite faltering markets.

E.ON, like local rivals RWE and EnBW, has been hammered by the rise of renewable energy, plunging wholesale electricity prices and Germany’s plans to abandon nuclear power by 2022.

It has responded by seeking to spin off most of its nuclear, gas and coal-fired plants as well as energy trading activities into Uniper, to focus on growing renewables, networks and services instead.

In its first public remarks to investors, Uniper said it would pay 200 million euros ($226 million) in dividends for 2016, sell at least 2 billion euros of assets by 2018 and cut costs to reduce debt. It did not put a figure on savings.

Asset sales are likely to include a 12.25 percent stake in Brazilian power producer Eneva, worth 257 million reais ($72 million) based on its current market capitalisation.

“Now it’s about getting the house in order,” Uniper Chief Executive Klaus Schaefer, E.ON’s former finance chief, said in joint presentations with E.ON. “No unit will be spared, we will look at everything.”

Chief Financial Officer Christopher Delbrueck added there would be no “sacred cows” within the company.

Some analysts and traders are sceptical about prospect for Uniper, whose struggling assets have been widely blamed for driving down E.ON’s market value.

“It’s a poor business model,” one trader said, pointing to proforma results showing Uniper’s business had been loss-making every year since 2013.

Shares in E.ON, which are down nearly 40 percent over the past twelve months, were up 2 percent at 1226 GMT.

As part of the spin-off, under which E.ON will list 53.35 percent of Uniper later this year, existing shareholders will receive one Uniper share for every ten E.ON shares they own.

E.ON confirmed it was aiming to divest the remaining stake over the medium term, but added further stake sales would not take place before 2018 to avoid a large tax payment.

($1 = 0.8864 euros)

($1 = 3.5529 Brazilian reais)

Additional reporting by Vera Eckert and Hakan Ersen; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Mark Potter

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