Blaming the economic meltdown for lack of demand for gas and electricity, French utility Electricite de France (EDF) said its profits have dropped by 74% in 2010.
EDF reported a net profit of €1.02 billion (£857 million) for 2010, down from €3.90 billion reported a year earlier.
Weak energy prices in Europe also hit the company’s profitability, it claimed.
The company had to make staggering provisions worth €2.9 billion for bad debts. “These mainly concern the US for €1.04billion, Italy for €915 million, and, to a lesser extent, other markets, mainly in Europe”, EDF said in a statement.
The company had raised to cash by selling its distribution networks in the UK and used it to deleverage the balance sheet.
It total debts were down at €34 billion in 2010, compared to €42 billion reported in 2009.
Lower interest expense will help the company in the future, said Henry Proglio, chief executive of EDF. “The newly remodelled group offers good growth perspectives for 2011”, he added.
The growth in unconventional gas production will affect electricity prices outside Europe in the long run, EDF said.