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Wed 18 Apr 2012 06:41 PM

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Saudi Electricity sees Q1 net losses narrow

Utility giant says increased revenue results in losses shrinking by 25% in first quarter

Saudi Electricity sees Q1 net losses narrow

Saudi Electricity Co said on Wednesday its first quarter net loss narrowed by 25 percent, thanks to increased revenue, beating the market forecast.

The firm recorded a net loss of SR583m ($155m) compared with a loss of SR774m in the same period of last year, it said in a statement.

Three analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average forecast a loss of SR814m.

The company attributed the improved performance to increased revenue from higher energy sales.

Electricity in Saudi Arabia is heavily subsidised and usually leads to losses. The state-controlled firm's profitability generally improves in the second and third quarters when power consumption surges due to heavy reliance on air-conditioners in the desert kingdom during the summer.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter is struggling to keep up with rising power demand of up to 8 percent a year, fuelled by high population growth.

SEC's installed capacity of 50,000 megawatts needs to rise to at least 80,000 megawatts by 2020, officials have previously said.

Over the longer term, the company is planning a major restructuring as it breaks its business up into a holding company owning six separate units to encourage competition.

SEC in March launched a $1.75bn two-part Islamic bond amid perceived strong market demand to support its substantial investment needs.

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