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GDF SUEZ: Downgrade to € 24/share

GDF SUEZ: Downgrade to € 24/share

26.10.2011 10:35

GDF Suez is set to report 9M11 revenues and EBITDA on 27 October before market opening. The company will provide a divisional revenue split, Group EBITDA and net debt. No conference call is planned.

We expect 9M11 Group revenues to come in at € 65.7bn or up 9.3% y/y, mainly thanks to the consolidation ofInternational Power. On EBITDA level, we expect GDF Suez to report € 11.93bn, which represents 71.6% of our FY11 forecast. Note that the 3rd quarter is usually the weakest quarter of the year.
Belgian nuclear tax debate:

The Belgian press mentioned that the Belgian government could raise a nuclear tax up to € 1.0bn, which resulted into an almost 6% share price decline for GDF Suez. Several numbers are circulating, with € 500-750m seeming to be the most consensual. GDF Suez through Electrabel already said that if this would be the case, they will appeal the tax while threatening to close the 3 oldest nuclear power stations in 2015. We now take into account a € 500m nuclear tax, up from € 250m before.
The government also supposed it might install a so-called single-buyer principle where it would act as the central buyer of nuclear energy produced, and sell it at cost + a ‘normal’ margin, to the suppliers. This should untimely lead to € 850m in cash proceeds annually (wholesale price – cost price and normal margin). The ultimate goal would be to compensate for the windfall taxes made on the nuclear power stations which have been fully written down, increase competition in the Belgian market and use the proceeds to lower the cost of renewable energy for the consumers.

We hope management to provide its view on 2012 French gas tariffs, the nuclear tax situation in Belgium, and the condition of the worldwide gas markets. We stick to our current € 16.7bn EBITDA forecast which compares to Group guidance of 17-17.5bn (excluding exceptional weather and changes in regulation). Given the recent clarity on the French gas tariffs (€ 290m negative impact over 4Q) management could take the opportunity to revise FY11 EBITDA guidance downwards. We do not expect management to re-iterate its FY13 € 20bn EBITDA guidance, nor to provide comments related to it.

We reduce our TP to € 24.0 (from € 26/sh) taking into account a potential higher Belgian nuclear tax impact, and applying a 10% conglomerate/political risk discount to our SOTP. Our rating remains Accumulate with the stock offering an > 7% gross dividend yield. Our FY12 EPS forecast is reduced by 5% and we are now 10% below consensus.
At our TP GDF Suez would trade at an EV/REBITDA 2013 of 6.5x and P/E 2013 of 11.5x.

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