PARIS, Feb 14 (Reuters) - French utility EDF’s core earnings rose 12.1% last year, beating expectations, on stronger power prices in Britain and France and a positive performance from its renewables energy division, the group said on Friday.
The state-controlled utility said 2019 revenue rose 4% to 71.3 billion euros ($77.3 billion) and core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 12.1% to 16.7 billion euros.
EDF’s 2019 group net profit was at 5.2 billion euros compared with 1.1 billion euros in 2018.
A Refinitiv poll of analysts expected EDF’s average group net profit to come in at 3.0 billion euros, and EBITDA at 16.3 billion, while turnover was seen at 70.9 billion.
“The 2019 results confirm the rebound seen in 2018. All our objectives were met,” EDF Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy told journalists.
EDF said its earnings were adversely affected by a decline in nuclear generation in France and Britain due prolonged nuclear reactor outages, and by poor hydro power conditions in France.
However, Chief Financial Officer Xavier Girre said the effect of the low nuclear power output were limited because of mild weather conditions which reduced the need for it to buy power in the spot market to cover its clients’ needs.
Nuclear power generation in its main market in France fell by a greater than expected 3.5% in 2019 to 379.5 terawatt hours (TWh).
The group said on Thursday that 2020 nuclear power generation in France is seen at between at 375 TWh and 390 TWh.
EDF proposed a dividend of 0.48 euros per share for 2019, which corresponds to a payout ratio of 45% of its net income.
Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Tom Hogue and Jan Harvey