Energy

Engie profit slips as hydro output down

French energy group Engie said Friday its operating profit slid in the first three months of the year, in part due to a drop in hydroelectric output in France and a nuclear reactor shutdown in Belgium.

Engie's operating profit was hit by a drop in hydroelectric output in France © (AFP)

Engie's operating profit was hit by a drop in hydroelectric output in France © (AFP)

PARIGI - French energy group Engie said Friday its operating profit slid in the first three months of the year, in part due to a drop in hydroelectric output in France and a nuclear reactor shutdown in Belgium.

The company, which began a major transformation effort last year, said operating profit dropped 5.9 percent to 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion), considerably below analysts' expectations.

Engie cited lower hydro output in France and the shutdown of the Tihange 1 nuclear power plant in Belgium as two significant drags on operating profit.

However, the firm said sales increased by 3.2 percent to 19.5 billion euros.

The sales figure, which beat analyst expectations, was driven by an increase in gas sales, production sites coming on line, and a colder-than-usual winter in Europe.

Engie, the world's leading independent electricity producer and major natural gas supplier and distributor in Europe, decided last year to focus more on renewables and segments of the energy sector not exposed to volatile commodity prices.

It is in the process of selling its oil and gas exploration and production activities and last month sold its stake in a project to build three nuclear reactors in Britain.

Engie confirmed its 2017 target of a net profit not including exceptional items between 2.4 and 2.6 billion euros, with operating profit at 10.7 to 11.3 billion euros.