EDF Quarterly Sales Drop 4% After Mild Weather Cuts Heat Demand

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest generator, reported a 4 percent drop in first-quarter sales after mild winter weather curbed demand for heating.

Revenue fell to 21.2 billion euros ($29.5 billion) from a restated 22.1 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based operator of French and U.K. nuclear reactors said today in a statement. That fell short of the 22.1 billion-euro average estimate of six analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

EDF confirmed 2014 financial targets.

The utility, which is controlled by the government, faces 55 billion euros of spending through 2025 to renovate and improve safety at its 58 French reactors after the country’s atomic authority tightened rules following the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan.

EDF reaffirmed its goal of achieving positive cash flow after dividends in 2018, excluding the deployment of smart meters the utility said in today’s statement.

EDF expects growth of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of at least 3 percent this year and has said 2014 spending is set at 13 billion to 13.5 billion euros compared with 12.2 billion euros in 2013.

The company today reiterated a target for 2014 atomic output of 410 to 415 terawatt-hours after reporting 403.7 terawatt-hours for 2013.

Nuclear output dropped to 114.9 terawatt-hours in the first three months of the year compared with 115.9 terawatt-hours over the same period last year, according to today’s statement.

Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told lawmakers today the utility wants to improve the availability rate of its reactors for power generation this year. The rate was 78 percent in 2013, down from 79.7 percent the year before.

EDF’s reactors supply three-quarters of power output in France, making it the world’s most nuclear-dependent country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Alex Devine, Tony Barrett

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