AP News

Bad weather boosts revenues at utility GDF-Suez


PARIS (AP) — Franco-Belgian utility GDF Suez reported Wednesday that its revenues were up 8.4 percent this year so far, driven in part by weather conditions in France and a decision there that will allow the company to recoup money lost in a government-mandated freeze on natural gas prices.

The company reaped €70.9 billion ($91.9 billion) in the first nine months of 2012. It didn't break out figures for the third quarter, but that's €20.4 billion more in revenue than GDF Suez reported at the half-year mark, and slightly above the average expectation of analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Some of the strongest growth came from France, which accounts for just over 35 percent of GDF's revenues. The company credited, in part, a favorable decision on gas prices this summer, when a state body overturned a freeze implemented by the government at the end of 2011. That is allowing GDF Suez to recoup millions of euros from customers.

GDF is also benefiting from a return to normal weather in France after an unusually warm early winter last year. In fact, weather has been on GDF's side all 2012, with a late-winter cold snap and a chilly summer. Revenues were up 15.2 percent in the country.

The company is also doing well in Asia, where revenue to Sept. 30 is up 18.8 percent, and Australia, where sales skyrocketed 40.3 percent, in part due to price increases.

GDF Suez, however, is struggling in its other home market of Belgium, where sales have slipped 5.9 percent over last year. The company said it is losing business customers there.


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