Sales at France's EDF fall at slower pace after coronavirus hit

FILE PHOTO: A logo of French electric company EDF is seen at an office building in La Defense business district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - EDF EDF.PA said on Friday the coronavirus pandemic had so far hit its sales by 2 billion euros ($2.36 billion) in the first ninth months of the year, as the French utility showed signs of an improving performance in the third quarter.

The company, which maintained its French nuclear power generation forecasts for 2020, said its third-quarter revenues came in at 14.1 billion euros, down 1.8% from a year earlier on a comparable basis.

That followed a 4.9% drop in EDF’s revenues at the end of the six months to June.

The COVID-19 crisis has sapped electricity demand and weighed on nuclear energy output in France when EDF, bogged down by a large debt pile, is bracing for an overhaul of the French regulatory framework covering its nuclear fleet.

The group maintained its financial targets on Friday, including a goal to sell 3 billion euros in assets by 2022.

It also reiterated a target to reach earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of between 15.2 billion and 15.7 billion euros this year.

EDF, which is nearly 84% owned by the French state, kept its nuclear output outlook in France at 325-335 terrawatt hours (TWh) for 2020.

Its revenues over the nine months to September stood at 48.8 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8472 euros)

Reporting by Sarah White and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Tom Hogue and Jane Merriman