GDF scores record results with rise in net profit

13th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 13, 2007 (AFP) - French state-controlled energy group Gaz de France said Tuesday that its net profit in 2006 rose by 29 percent to its highest-ever level.

PARIS, March 13, 2007 (AFP) - French state-controlled energy group Gaz de France said Tuesday that its net profit in 2006 rose by 29 percent to its highest-ever level.

The group, which is seeking to merge with fellow French utility Suez, said net profit totalled 2.30 billion euros (3.03 billion dollars) from 1.78 billion euros in 2005.

"All of the group's business lines contributed to the 2006 results which reflect, to this day, the best operational performance ever achieved by Gaz de France," chief executive Jean-Francois Cirelli said in a statement.

The group said it expected 2007 to be "a year of consolidation" as the warm 2006-2007 winter would weigh on activity levels and on prices over the first months of the year.

The group called the 2006-2007 northern hemisphere winter "the warmest winter in over 50 years."

GDF is embroiled in a plan to merge with Suez, but the deal has been held up by legal difficulties and has been delayed until July -- after French presidential elections in April and May this year.

The merger is opposed by Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal, while the centre-right candidate and interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, is reportedly unenthusiastic about the deal brokered by his government.

The French state is to cut its holding in GDF from 80.2 percent to 34 percent under the merger plan.

GDF said gross operating profit for the year was 5.15 billion euros, a rise of 21 percent from 2005.

Based on its results, the group said it would recommend a 62-percent increase in its 2006 dividend to 1.10 euros.

Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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