By Benjamin Mallet
PARIS (Reuters) - State-controlled utility EDF signed 500,000 extra retail clients in the French electricity market between August 2021 and May 2022 and it aims to double the core profit of its energy services division by 2030, said a company official.
Marc Benayoun, executive director in charge of EDF's customers, services and territories arm, told a news conference that EDF's number of retail customers had risen to 26.2 million in May this year from 25.7 million in August 2021.
EDF said the rise in its customers had come as a surge in energy prices, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, had led some rivals to change their retail offers or even halt them.
"The number of contracts in this sector is clearly on an upturn. The commercial bounce we hoped for in 2023 took place in 2022. The crisis helped us a bit," he said.
EDF has faced tough competition since the French electricity market was liberalised in 2007, and had seen the number of its retail users decline in recent years.
The former power monopoly has faced challenges from major energy companies such as TotalEnergies and Engie, and from consumer retail companies like Casino and Leclerc which have also launched competitive offers in the French power market.
EDF added it was targeting a rise of over 50% in the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of its clients, services and territories unit by 2030.
The division was "fairly well covered" in terms of gas supplies, Benayoun said, adding that it did not buy gas from Russia.
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)