UPDATE 3-Engie shifts focus to regulated power as oil and gas take toll

Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:53am EST
 
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* Three-year transformation focuses on regulated assets

* Sells 13 GW of power plants in US, Indonesia, India

* Plans to trim dividend in 2017 and 2018

* Shares up four percent after sliding at opening (Adds stock reversal, deputy CEO quote, detail on investments, oil and gas sales)

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, Feb 25 (Reuters) - French gas and power utility Engie plans to focus on regulated activities that are not exposed to commodity prices, after writedowns on its oil and gas business cost it 8.7 billion euros ($9.6 billion).

The charges pushed Engie into a 4.6 billion net loss for 2015, reversing a 2.4 billion profit in 2014 and follow a 15 billion euro writedown on gas power plants and gas storage facilities in 2013 which led to a 9.7 billion loss.

CEO Gerard Mestrallet said on Thursday the writedowns had no impact on Engie's cash or debt and were mainly related to its oil and gas exploration and production activities and, to a lesser degree, its merchant electricity generation assets.

Engie is not alone in taking such a hit. Brokerage Jefferies estimates that since 2010, Europe's 12 largest integrated utilities have taken 93 billion euros worth of asset writedowns.   Continued...