GDFSuez reports 6.1% gain in underlying profit

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French energy group EDF Suez reported a rise of underlying profit by 6.1 percent in the first quarter but disappointed analysts with the extent of a rise in sales driven by the acquisition of British group International Power.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose by 6.1 percent to 5.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion), slightly below the figure of 5.68 billion euros expected by analysts.

Sales rose by 6.9 percent in the quarter from the equivalent figure last year.

The total sales figure was 25.5 billion euros but this also fell short of analysts' expectations of 26.02 billion euros, on average and as polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Net debt fell by 2.9 billion euros to 39.9 billion euros at the end of March, partly because favourable exchange rates helped to the extent of 900 million euros.

The group said that it was standing by its targets for the medium and long term.

For this year GDF Suez is targeting an EBITDA figure of 17.0-17.5 billion euros from 15.1 billion euros last year and in 2013 expects it to rise above 20 billion euros.

© 2011 AFP

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