UPDATE 1-Utility EDF raises French nuclear power generation outlook

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PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - French utility EDF raised its French nuclear power generation forecast for 2020 on Wednesday to between 315 terrawatt hours (TWh) and 325 TWh, from 300 TWh estimated in April as it reported a 4.9% drop in sales in the first half of the year.

“Despite the economic downturn, the impact of the crisis on our main financial indicators remains contained, attesting to the resilience of our group,” EDF Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said in a statement.

EDF’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) took a 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) hit as of the end of June 2020, mainly due to lower nuclear output, a drop in demand and postponement of work and service activities.

EDF said construction activities were temporarily interrupted between mid-March and early May at its Flamanville 3 EPR nuclear reactor being built in the north of France. This could result in further delays and additional costs, it said.

Core earning for the first half of the year were down 1.6% at 8.2 billion euros, while net income excluding non-recurring items stood at 1.2 billion euros at the end of June 2020, down by 135 million euros compared with the first half of 2019.

EDF, which withdrew its 2020 and 2021 financial targets in April due to the turmoil caused by the pandemic, said it now expected its EBITDA for 2020 at between 15.2 billion euros and 15.7 billon euros.

EDF said it was planning further asset sales with a target of 3 billion euros over the period 2020 to 2022.

$1 = 0.8502 euros Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Edmund Blair