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EDF First-Half Profit Beats Expectations on French Hydro Output

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, said first-half profit beat analyst expectations after higher hydropower output helped offset lower nuclear production.

It cut a forecast for full-year French nuclear production.

Net income climbed to 2.77 billion euros ($3.4 billion) from a restated 2.65 billion euros a year earlier, EDF said today in a statement. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 4.6 percent to 9.1 billion euros. That beat the 8.65 billion-euro median estimate of 4 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

EDF needs to invest an estimated 10 billion euros over six years to improve safety at its 58 French reactors under measures ordered by the nation’s atomic authority after the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant. Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio has also said the utility is seeking to upgrade the plants so they can operate for as long as six decades.

EDF reiterated targets for average annual Ebitda growth of 4 percent to 6 percent from 2011 to 2015 and average annual growth of net income excluding non-recurring items of 5 percent to 10 percent. The 2012 dividend will be “at least stable” this year, it said.

The utility cut its full-year nuclear output target to 415 terawatt hours compared with a previous forecast of between 420 terawatt-hours to 425 terawatt-hours. Work on plants will prolong outages in the second half.

Net financial debt rose to 39.7 billion euros at the end of June compared with 33.3 billion euros at the end of last year, it said today.

EDF said French nuclear output dropped 10.6 terawatt-hours compared with last year due to maintenance and safety inspections at plants. Hydroelectric power rose by 5.9 terawatt-hours.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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