14.9 pct net profit blast for Gaz de France

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 23 (AFP) - Gaz de France, the state-owned utility for which an initial public offering is planned this year, said Wednesday that net profit rose 14.9 percent in 2004, with foreign sales accounting for an increasing share.

PARIS, Feb 23 (AFP) - Gaz de France, the state-owned utility for which an initial public offering is planned this year, said Wednesday that net profit rose 14.9 percent in 2004, with foreign sales accounting for an increasing share.

GDF said net profit reached EUR 1.046 billion (USD 1.382 billion), on an 8.9 percent increase in sales to EUR 18.129 billion.

The group added that government measures to reform the pension system will require a charge of EUR 1.625 billion on the company's 2004 accounts, compared with liabilities that would have reached EUR 14.8 billion in the absence of retirement reforms.

Sales were supported by strong volume growth of 10 percent in France and close to 18 percent in Europe. Total natural gas volume was 730 TeraWatt hours, up 10.3 percent.

Revenues outside France represented 29 percent of group sales last year, up from 23 percent in 2003, while operating profits for international operations were up 44.3 percent to EUR 502 million.

By division, GDF's core exploration and production, energy trading, and gas supply services generated sales of EUR 16.498 billion, an increase of 10.8 percent.

Group operating profits slipped 15.0 percent to EUR 1.6 billion as the company took a EUR 448 million charge for amortisation and exceptional items.

Net debt stood at EUR 4.4 billion, down 14.6 percent from the previous year, while shareholder equity rose 7.5 percent to EUR 10.6 billion.

Chief executive Jean-Francois Cirelli said the 2004 results "confirm the soundness of our development model, and gives us confidence in our strategy of making GDF, in a market that is more and more competitive, one of the leading energy groups in Europe."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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