EDF net profit leaps as privatisation looms

17th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 17 (AFP) - The French state-owned energy group Electricite de France said Thursday that 2004 net profit had jumped by 56 percent, and that it could be partially privatised before the end of the year.

PARIS, March 17 (AFP) - The French state-owned energy group Electricite de France said Thursday that 2004 net profit had jumped by 56 percent, and that it could be partially privatised before the end of the year.

EDF net profit reached EUR 1.341 billion (USD 1.8 billion), on a 4.5 percent increase in sales to EUR 46.298 billion.

Core earnings were up 10 percent to EUR 12.127 billion, while group debt fell 18 percent to EUR 19.668 billion, the group said in a statement. Speaking at a news conference after the results, chief executive Pierre Gadonneix said EDF's partial privatisation could take place from October, market conditions permitting.

The group plans a capital increase of between EUR 8 to 11 billion, he confirmed.

"The year 2005 will be decisive for the group, which must continue to improve its profitability," Gadonneix said in a statement accompanying the results.

On the planned partial privatisation, he said: "The forthcoming privatisation will play an essential role in this strategy, which aims to enable EDF to be a leader in European energy."

Gadonneix told the news conference he would not rule out any options concerning the group's loss-making South American activities.

Finally, he said EDF had received about 15 offers from companies interested in buying stakes in Italenergia, the holding company that controls the Italian energy group Edison.

Under a series of put and call options, EDF has to buy the 82-percent stake it does not hold in Italenergia over the coming months, and is seeking partners to share the financial burden of the takeover.

At the press conference, Gadonneix said he wants to reach a final deal on the future of Edison before the middle of the year.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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