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GDF Suez cuts profit target following impact on core earnings from gas prices

GDF Suez cut its key profit target yesterday as sharply lower gas prices capped the world’s second-biggest listed utility’s core earnings growth at one per cent in 2009.

GDF Suez shares fell 3.2 per cent to €26.53 (£24.06) with one analyst saying the results and target were below forecasts.

The French energy group said it now expected earnings to rise at least 15 per cent in 2011 from €14bn last year. This would imply earnings of at least €16.1bn, compared with previous guidance for €17bn-1€8bn set at the beginning of 2009.

The company said it was cutting its forecast because it was taking longer than expected for its industrial clients to recover from the crisis and because of low gas prices.

“The rebound for our industrial customers appears to be less fast and robust than we expected,” chief executive Gerard Mestrallet told analysts in a presentation of the group's results.

However, Mestrallet added that GDF Suez would not need to make any major acquisitions to grow or reach its targets.