EDF seeks deal for nuclear as profits inch up

City A.M. Reporter
FRENCH energy giant EDF yesterday reported flat earnings and investment, but surprised shareholders with a dividend increase.

EDF’s UK nuclear stations produced 60 terawatt hours of energy last year, the best performance in seven years, which helped to boost sales by over 13.6 per cent to €9.7bn (£8.3bn), representing organic growth of 6.4 per cent.

EDF aims to maintain this level of production this year.

The company said it is “confident” that the Hinkley Point nuclear project in Somerset will go ahead, in spite of partner Centrica’s exit last year, providing the firm can agree with the government a reasonable price for the energy generated.

EDF reported a 5.3 per cent rise in group annual net income to €3.3bn, below consensus forecasts for a 9.8 per cent rise.

The firm, which is 84.4 per cent owned by the French government, expects Ebitda to be stable this year, and has kept its spending plans flat at €12bn.

The group hiked its dividend to €1.25 per share, up from €1.15 and ahead of expectations.

Henri Proglio, chairman and chief executive of EDF, said: “EDF’s results were up in 2012, underscoring a third consecutive year of progress during which the group delivered on its commitments.”

Meanwhile Spanish utility Iberdrola, which owns Scottish Power, said the UK had become its biggest market outside of Spain as it posted a 1.3 per cent rise in group net profit to €2.84bn. Earnings in Iberdrola’s domestic market plunged 36 per cent, dented by lower production and tax changes.