EDF net profits skyrockets in 2019

EDF net profits skyrockets in 2019

/ Financial News / Tuesday, 18 February 2020 09:03

French power utility EDF said net profits rose more than fourfold in 2019 to 5.2 billion euros ($5.6 billion) from 1.2 billion, lifted by asset values pushed higher by strong bond and equity markets.

Joining the global push towards renewables the firm is five years into a 45 billion euro investment program to extend the life of some of its nuclear power plants while closing others over the next 15 years as France ramps down dependence on nuclear energy from some 70 percent currently to nearer 50.

Citing a strong performance from renewables, mainly state-owned EDF said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) rose 12 percent to 16.7 billion euros in 2019, at the top end of its own forecast and beating analysts' expectations.

The firm's 2020 forecast is for ebitda of between 17.5 and 18 billion.

The showing came despite a falloff in nuclear power generation both in France and Britain as well as a slide in French hydropower production.

“Our performances in 2019 underpin and prolong the rebound registered in 2018 – all our financial objectives were reached, we are a profitable group,” said Electricite de France (EDF) chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy.

Net financial debt had risen by year end from 33.4 billion euros at the end of 2018 to 41.1 billion by the end of last year, owing to accounting norms but also the need to make investments in its nuclear programme in the United Kingdom and roll out Linky smart meters.

In the UK, EDF has notably had to deal with cost overruns and delays at Britain's controversial Hinkley Point power plant – set to cost some 3 billion euros more than original estimates while there have also been similar problems at the firm's Flamanville nuclear plant.

In early trading on the Paris bourse, EDF shares were up 6.56 percent at 12.5 euros in a market just 0.19 into the red as analysts at Jefferies dubbed the results “positive” and the outlook robust.

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