* British retail unit to deliver profit one year early
* E.ON proposes dividend of 47 euro cents for 2020
* Adj EBIT seen at 3.8 bln-4 bln euros in 2021 (Adds CEO quote, context on Britain)
FRANKFURT, March 24 (Reuters) - E.ON, Germany’s largest listed energy group, said on Wednesday its British retail business was recovering faster than expected, and proposed a higher dividend due to the limited impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Amid the biggest economic crisis since World War II, the new E.ON demonstrated its strength in impressive fashion,” Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen, who will hand over the reins to Leonhard Birnbaum in April after 11 years at the helm, said.
During his tenure, E.ON spun off its former power plant division Uniper in response to Germany’s nuclear phase-out, and agreed a major asset swap with RWE, turning it into Europe’s largest operator of energy networks.
E.ON’s UK retail unit, which includes the Npower brand acquired as part of the swap, is likely to deliver more than 100 million pounds ($137 million) in profit this year, one year ahead of schedule.
“The turnaround in the United Kingdom is a success,” Teyssen said.
In Britain, E.ON’s second-largest market after Germany, the group still lost about 600,000 clients, or 5.5%, in the course of 2020 as part of the ongoing restructuring.
E.ON said it would propose a dividend of 0.47 euros for 2020, up marginally from 0.46 euros in 2019.
Adjusted operating profit (EBIT) rose 17% to 3.78 billion euros in 2020, while adjusted net profit was up 7% at 1.64 billion, E.ON said. They are seen at 3.8 billion-4 billion euros and 1.7 billion-1.9 billion euros in 2021 respectively.
($1 = 0.7294 pounds)
$1 = 0.8449 euros Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Tom Kaeckenhoff; Additional reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Riham Alkousaa, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jan Harvey