The firm – which operates oil fields across the North Sea – said it wanted to focus on its renewable activities, regulated distribution networks and efficiency services, citing “dramatically altered global energy markets, technical innovation, and more diverse customer expectations”.

Germany’s power sector has been in turmoil, hit by a prolonged period of weak energy demand, low wholesale power prices and a surge in renewable energy sources which continue to replace gas-fired and coal-fired power plants.

E.ON said it would prepare next year for the listing of the new company created by its breakup, with the spin-off taking place after its 2016 annual general meeting.

The spin-off will not be accompanied by a job-cutting programme, E.ON said, adding about 40,000 of its employees would remain with the parent group, while the remaining 20,000 would join the new company.

E.ON did not provide an earnings breakdown for the two future companies.