November 13, 2018 / 6:48 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-EDF 9-month sales up 7.2 percent as French nuclear output recovers

* Nuclear output up 6.6 TWh at 290 TWh vs same period in 2017

* Revises full-year nuclear target at 393-395 TWh

* EDF confirms 2018 core earnings guidance (Adds details, quotes)

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, Nov 13 (Reuters) - French state-owned utility EDF’s revenue rose 7.2 percent in the first nine months of the year as nuclear and hydro output recovered and the firm was bullish about its earnings guidance.

The utility said nuclear output in its French home market rose by 6.6 terawatt hours (TWh) to 290 TWh, mainly because 2017 nuclear output was heavily impacted by several reactor outages linked to and investigation in the manufacturing records of the Creusot plant and problems with carbon segregation in the steel of its reactors.

EDF slightly lowered its full-year 2018 French nuclear output target to 393-395 TWh from more than 395 TWh as the Dampierre 4 reactor had been closed longer than expected for maintenance and the Chooz 1 reactor had been closed for 17 days in October due to low water levels in the river Meuse.

EDF confirmed its guidance for 2018 core earnings of 14.8-15.3 billion euros and chief financial officer Xavier Girre said on an analyst call that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were expected to come in at the top end of that range.

He also said that EDF should achieve positive cash flow this year, which is slightly better than its target for cash flow that is slightly positive or close to balance, excluding investments in its Linky smart meters and asset disposals.

Girre said that following the sale of the Dunkerque LNG terminal, EDF’s 10 billion euro asset disposal was now nearly completed and would be finalised before year-end.

“We are not planning another asset disposal plan on this scale,” he told analysts in response to questions.

Revenue in the first nine months of the year rose 7.2 percent to 49.59 billon euros from 46.25 billion restated under new IFRS 15 accounting standards on contract recognition, but was slightly below the 49.72 billion euros reported for the first nine months of last year. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Bate Felix)

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