Swiss Axpo Trading Fires Two Energy Traders as Power Prices Fall

Axpo Trading AG fired two traders and seven other employees last year as the deepening European economic crisis and falling wholesale power prices hurt profits.

The Zurich-based trading unit of Axpo Holding AG, one of Switzerland’s three biggest utilities, now has 680 employees, the company said in an e-mailed statement, declining to identify the traders by name.

Falling power prices in Germany, Europe’s biggest electricity market, are forcing utilities including EON SE to switch off natural gas-fed plants, cutting into profit. Axpo Holding is seeking to reduce costs as slow economic growth and increased supply from subsidized renewable generation damps wholesale electricity prices, the company said in an earnings statement last month.

“The situation for Axpo will remain challenging also in this financial year and therefore no specific outlook can be given” on staffing numbers, Daniela Biedermann, a company spokeswoman, said today by e-mail from Zurich.

Axpo cut 110 jobs across the company since the previous financial year and made 60 people redundant, according to its earnings statement. The average number of full-time employees fell to 4,368, compared with 4,415 a year earlier.

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