(Adds detail, share price)
PARIS, April 28 French gas and power group GDF
Suez said on Monday its first-quarter core earnings
fell due to very mild weather in Europe compared with a cold
year-earlier period, but the company confirmed its financial
targets for 2014.
Quarterly earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) fell 15.6 percent to 4.2 billion euros
($5.81 billion), while current operating income declined 14.8
percent to 3.1 billion and revenue fell 5.9 percent to 22.8
billion, GDF said.
The company confirmed its annual targets. In February, it
forecast 2014 net recurring profit of 3.3-3.7 billion euros and
EBITDA of 12.3-13.3 billion.
GDF then posted a 15 billion euro writedown on gas storage
and gas power, which knocked it into a 9.74 billion 2013 net
loss, from a 1.54 billion profit in 2012.
GDF attributed 545 million euros of the year-on-year decline
in first-quarter EBITDA to warm weather in France and a tariff
adjustment booked a year earlier.
It added that cost savings, continued expansion in renewable
energy and fast-growing markets, and the commissioning of new
assets and of new exploration and production fields boosted
earnings. But lower power market prices in Europe weighed.
At the end of March, net debt stood at 26.7 billion euros,
down 2.5 billion from the end of 2013.
The firm said its net debt-to-EBITDA ratio, at 2.18 times,
was now far below its maximum target level of 2.5. At the end of
March, GDF had liquidity of 18.5 billion, including 10.5 billion
GDF shares were 0.7 percent lower at 18.945 euros by 1308
GMT. The stock is up 11 percent this year.
($1 = 0.7227 Euros)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan)