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STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-EDF down on nuclear outages

Shares in EDF EDF.PA fall 2.7 percent, reaching a seven-week low and featuring among the top losers on the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares, after the French electricity major says 15 nuclear reactors are currently off-line in France.

“We now believe that the company will not meet its objective of ‘moderate organic growth’ in EBITDA ... Nevertheless we see these prolonged outages as a one-off for 2009,” Exane analysts write in a note.

Exane analysts say the prolonged outages will pull an additional 500 million euros out of EDF’s EBITDA for 2009. The analysts also revise down their expectations for earnings per share by 9 percent.

Speaking on RTL radio, Chief Executive Pierre Gadonneix says that the reactors are down to prevent power outages this winter. A series of strikes by EDF workers last spring delayed maintenence on the company’s aging fleet of nuclear power plants and now they are struggling to catch up.

After 2-1/2 hours of trading, the volume on EDF shares already represents 105 percent of the blue chip’s 90-day average daily volume.

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