May 14, 2020 / 6:42 AM / 13 days ago

France's EDF reports 1% drop in first-quarter revenue as nuclear output falls

PARIS (Reuters) - EDF (EDF.PA) on Thursday reported a 1% drop in first-quarter revenue to 20.7 billion euros ($22.4 billion) as nuclear power output at the French state-controlled utility fell on prolonged reactor outages.

FILE PHOTO: A view shows France's oldest Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power plant near the eastern French village of Fessenheim, France February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

“Sales were generally stable compared to the first quarter of 2019. They were supported by better price conditions in electricity in France and in the United Kingdom,” EDF said in a statement.

The company's shares on the Paris bourse .FCHI were up 0.5% in early trade.

EDF, which operates all of France’s 57 nuclear reactors that account for around 70% of the country’s electricity needs, cut its nuclear electricity generation target for the year in April due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The pandemic has both curbed demand and disrupted maintenance works at its reactors.

“The health crisis had a limited negative impact at the end of March 2020 estimated at minus 247 million euros, linked in particular to a drop in demand for electricity, gas and services,” EDF said in the statement.

The drop in electricity demand, combined with the decline in nuclear generation, had an estimated 446 million euro impact on sales, EDF added.

EDF’s nuclear power generation fell by 10.6 terawatt hours (TWh) to 101.2 TWh compared with the same period a year ago due to prolonged outages of its nuclear reactors, while hydro power generation rose 36.4% to 13.5 TWh during the period.

EDF said in April it expected its nuclear power output in France to fall to a record low of around 300 TWh this year, from an initial projection of 375 to 390 TWh before the outbreak.

The company also withdrew its financial targets for 2020 and 2021 as the fallout from the pandemic hit key areas of its businesses.

EDF said on Thursday that the coronavirus crisis had also slowed construction works at its two major nuclear projects, the Flamanville 3 EPR in France, and Hinkley Point C in Britain.

It did not say if this would lead to further delays to the projects.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey

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