May 14, 2019 / 7:04 AM / 2 months ago

EDF first quarter sales boosted by higher power prices, energy services

FILE PHOTO: The logo of EDF (Electricite de France) is seen on the French state-controlled utility EDF's headquarters in Paris, France, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-owned utility EDF’s first-quarter sales rose 2.5 percent to 20.97 billion euros (18.19 billion pounds), as higher power prices offset the impact of lower French nuclear and hydropower output.

Favourable market conditions in French power generation, the growth of energy services activities and a strong performance by EDF Trading all boosted sales, but UK revenue fell 2.9 percent to 2.5 billion euros due to extended nuclear reactor outages.

The company confirmed its guidance for 2019 core earnings.

It published a new 2019 target for core earnings of 16.0 to 16.7 billion euros, updated for the IFRS 16 accounting standard. An EDF spokesman said this was exactly the same as the forecast for 15.3 billion to 16 billion euros published in February.

It also updated its cash flow outlook for the IFRS 16 standard to at least 600 million euros, excluding investments in the UK Hinkley Point project and its French Linky smart meters. In Februrary, the forecast was for positive cash flow.

The company also confirmed that in 2019-20 it plans total net investments of about 15 billion euros per year and asset disposals of two to three billion euros.

French nuclear output fell by 1.1 terawatt hours to 111.8 TWh as production was reduced because of warmer weather, and due to a higher volume of reactor outages. The full-year forecast for French nuclear output remains at 395 TWh.

Hydropower output dropped 32.2 % to 9.9 TWh due to less favourable hydrological conditions.

EDF said that the scrapping of a planned tariff increase that had been scheduled for Feb 1 had resulted in a negative impact of around 54 million euros.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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