EDF Rises on Better-Than-Expected Profit, Outlook: Paris Mover

Electricite de France SA jumped the most in three weeks after beating first-half earnings estimates and raising its full-year target.

The shares rose as much as 6.6 percent in Paris trading, the biggest intraday increase since July 9, to 21.57 euros. More than 90,000 shares changed hands in the first 45 minutes of trading, about half the average daily volume over the last three months.

Europe’s biggest power generator raised its forecast for 2013 profit growth after cold weather and higher hydroelectricity output drove first-half results higher. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will grow at least 3 percent, excluding its Italian Edison unit, EDF said today. The utility previously expected Ebitda to hold steady or rise no more than 3 percent.

EDF earnings are “excellent,” Julien Desmaretz, an analyst at Bryan, Garnier & Co. wrote in a note. Looking ahead, the utility will benefit from higher French tarifs in the second half, he said.

Ebitda rose 6.9 percent in the first half to 9.7 billion euros ($12.9 billion), beating the 9.24 billion-euro median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Net income advanced to 2.9 billion euros from 2.78 billion euros.

“The first half-year 2013 was marked by good operating performance,” Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said in the statement. Growth was driven by results in EDF’s home market as the winter was colder than usual, driving up market prices, while hydropower output expanded 25 percent. EDF also reported a “favorable outcome” of arbitration on gas contracts in Algeria between Edison and Sonatrach.

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