GDF Suez posted higher profit in 2009 despite global downturn

08:11, March 05, 2010      

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Paris-based European natural gas giant GDF Suez posted Thursday a profit of 14 billion euros (19 billion U.S. dollars) in 2009, higher than that of the fiscal year 2008, but the growing pace is slower than expected due to the global economic recession.

Despite the global downturn, the largest European natural gas operator announced an adjusted operating income of 14 billion euros, 1 percent higher than 2008's level, and the free cash flow was registered at 9.6 billion euros, more than doubled the level of last year.

However, due to decreasing demand and unexpected over- production, natural gas future prices in major European markets fell in last year and the recovery is not as quickly as previously expected, thus the forecast for income growth for 2011 was revised to lower level by the company.

GDF Suez said in its annual report that the earnings will rise by at least 15 percent in 2011 to about 16 billion euros (22 billion U.S. dollars).

According to French newspaper Le Figaro, the group will lift its gas price by 9 percent in France from April 1st, but the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet didn't confirm the news at the briefing conference releasing its annual result.

Nevertheless, the company has blamed the 1.8-billin-euro loss of earning since 2004 on the below-market-rate prices set by the government.

GDF Suez, a merger of Gaz de France and France-based multinational corporation Suez in 2008 July, is an active operator in fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas and renewable energy.

It also controls about 90 percent of the household market of natural gas, and also has its presence in several nuclear stations in France, Britain and Belgium.

Source: Xinhua
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