'No major sparkle' in Suez sales results

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 3 (AFP) - The French energy and environmental group Suez said Wednesday that sales in the first nine months of the year fell to EUR 29.4 billion (USD 37 billion) from 30.5 billion in the same period of 2003 but were in line with expectations and supported by growth in international electricity and gas operations.

PARIS, Nov 3 (AFP) - The French energy and environmental group Suez said Wednesday that sales in the first nine months of the year fell to EUR 29.4 billion (USD 37 billion) from 30.5 billion in the same period of 2003 but were in line with expectations and supported by growth in international electricity and gas operations.

Analysts had predicted sales at EUR 29-30.6 billion for the first nine months of the year.

Suez said nine-month organic growth, which excludes the acquisition of other companies, was 5.4 percent, a slight improvement from 5.2 percent in the first half, indicating a slight acceleration during the third quarter.

The company also said growth was 2.5 percent on a pro forma basis from 2003, calculated after the impact of divestments, foreign exchange effects and the fall in gas prices.

A company spokesman confirmed existing guidance for organic growth of between four and seven percent in full-year 2004 and for growth in both underlying profit after interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization(EBITDA) and in net profit.

By division, modest growth in Europe at Suez's core energy operations was more than offset by international operations.

The company said a sharp spike in the international operations largely reflected new electricity production capacity coming on stream, developments in the transport and re-gasification of liquefied natural gas as well as commercial "dynamism.".

It added that exchange rate fluctuations had wiped EUR 350 million off its sales, while the fall in gas prices reduced revenues by EUR 72 million.

Suez shares underperformed the broader market in midmorning trade as the group's in-line nine months sales failed to spark enthusiasm and as investors cashed in profits after the stock's recent run, dealers said.

Shares in Suez lost 0.64 percent and were trading at EUR 18.75 on an overall stronger CAC 40 index.

Dresdner Kleinworth Wasserstein said results were "bang in line" with its estimates but added there was "no major sparkle."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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