Strong hydroelectric production, wind power generation and French retail lifts Engie's Q1 earnings

London (Platts)--15 May 2018 520 am EDT/920 GMT

A strong increase in renewable power generation in France and Belgium and rising gas and electricity sales in the French retail market lifted Engie's first quarter gross revenues 1.2% year on year to Eur17.5 billion ($21 billion), the French energy company said Tuesday.

* Q1 gross revenues edge up to Eur17 billion

* Achieved price down Eur3/MWh

* Upward trend in forward hedge

Gross earnings of Eur3.2 billion were up 3% for the same reasons, Engie said, aided by a 30 basis points increase in service business margins and "the outstanding performance of midstream gas activities" as temperatures dropped during the period.

Achieved prices were down over the period, Engie said, but forward hedging data showed an upward trend.

Engie had hedged 100% of its Belgian and French nuclear and hydro volumes for 2018 at Eur33/MWh.

For 2019, it had hedged 67% of the volumes at Eur34/MWh, rising to Eur37/MWh for 29% of 2020 volumes, and Eur39/MWh for 4% of 2021 volumes.

First quarter 2018 growth was partially offset by less favorable conditions for thermal generation, a decrease in achieved price for nuclear and hydroelectric production in Belgium and France, and by prior disposals of generation assets in Poland and the UK.

French revenue of Eur4.8 billion was up 10%, supported by a year-on-year increase of 39% in hydroelectric production, higher wind power generation and increased retail sales. Meanwhile Engie acquired four French energy service companies, namely MCI, CNN MCO, Icomera, during the period.

Benelux revenue of Eur2 billion was up 2%, boosted by the growth in services and higher energy volumes sold, Engie said. Nuclear volumes were down 4% year on year as a result of an outage at the Doel 3 reactor, while lower achieved prices dented growth, falling Eur3/MWh year on year to Eur33/MWh for Q1 2018.

Europe revenue of Eur2.7 billion was up 12%, mainly due to the acquisition of Keepmoat Regeneration, a UK buildings regeneration firm, partially offset by negative foreign exchange effects in the British pound and the Romanian leu, as well as the disposal of gas distribution activities in Hungary at the beginning of 2018.

Organic revenue growth in Europe benefited from higher gas prices in Romania partially offset by lower distribution revenues, as well as the launch of energy retail sales in June 2017 in the UK.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans,

--Edited by Irene Tang,

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