Electricite de France profits fall 74% on downturn

Image caption,
EDF says that although electricity prices are on the rise, they remain low in Europe

French utility Electricite de France (EDF) has reported a 74% drop in net profit, saying demand for gas and electricity has not returned to levels seen before the economic downturn.

In 2010, EDF earned 1.02bn euros (£857m), down from 3.90bn euros the year before.

The firm said that although electricity prices were on the rise, they remained low in Europe.

The energy situation meant EDF made provisions amounting to 2.9bn euros.

"These mainly concern the US for 1.04bn euros, Italy for 915m euros, and, to a lesser extent, other markets, mainly in Europe," said the firm in a statement.

Reduced debt

EDF sold its UK distribution networks, which helped to reduce debt.

In 2010, the company's debt was 34bn euros, down from 42bn euros the year before.

"The newly remodelled group offers good growth perspectives for 2011," said EDF chief executive, Henri Proglio.

The company said that outside Europe, the growth in unconventional gas production would affect electricity prices in the long run.

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