Blog by Rolf Schwermer, Fossil Free Essen.

The sale of the municipal holdings in RWE – which is the most polluting electricity generator in Europe due to lignite coal – is rapidly gaining momentum: the city of Düsseldorf wants to sell its remaining 5.67 million RWE shares. For this, the intercompany holdings RW Holding and RWE Beteiligungs GmbH must be dissolved. This is what the CDU wants now – in Düsseldorf, but not in Essen. The sale of RWE shares has also been agreed in Bochum and Bottrop. Altenkirchen could follow next. But Essen refuses to divest.

Fossil-free Essen has for months called for the grand coalition of the CDU and the SPD in the Essen city council to divest their shares in RWE – mainly due to climate change, but also from the perspective of municipal finance. The SPD in Essen is not capable of reacting, the CDU, which is leading in Essen, has hitherto been obliged to hold on to RWE shares. Perhaps the divesting of shares in Duesseldorf will now bring about a change of mind of the CDU in Essen?

In view of these developments, a change of staff is not surprising, but nevertheless piquant: one of the key figures, the Essen chamberlain Lars Martin Klieve (CDU), who is also (at the same time) the managing director of RWE Beteiligungs-GmbH, has assumed a new, of course much better paid job as Managing Director of Stadtwerke Essen. Apparently not only captains of damaged cruise ships leave a sinking ship before it goes under. Mr. Klieve saved himself at least on board the Stadtwerke Essen, which in turn belong to 29% of RWE Rheinland Westfalennetz AG, which in turn belongs to whom? Right: RWE.

Whilst your head may now be hurting, thanks to the hard work of Greenpeace and Fossil Free, an overview of the structural interrelationships of the municipalities with RWE can be obtained. This “RWE Rhein-Ruhr dark web” is currently undergoing a intense transformation, both in terms of structural and personnel. The decision of the city of Bochum as one of the former largest municipal RWE shareholders has contributed to this. The first shares has been sold. Shareholders in Essen  have to beware that they are not the last to sell the 18.8 million RWE shares. And then, when the stock has only a junk value.