Japan utilities Kansai, Chubu post record Q1 profits on lower fuel costs

TOKYO : Japanese utilities Kansai Electric Power Co and Chubu Electric Power Co posted record first-quarter net profits on Friday as lower fuel prices helped them recover from last year’s energy crisis hit.

Kansai Electric booked a record first-quarter net profit of 193.2 billion yen ($1.4 billion), recovering from a loss of 11.4 billion yen a year earlier, thanks to falling prices of fuels such as liquefied natural gas and coal.

Kansai Electric has also benefited from a higher utilisation ratio at its nuclear plants – now at 78.3 per cent versus 29.1 per cent a year earlier – as Japan is gradually returning nuclear power to its energy mix both for energy security and to lower emissions.

On Friday, Kansai Electric restarted the 49-year-old No.1 reactor at its Takahama nuclear power station in western Japan for the first time since early 2011, and the firm now has six reactors operating.

Following the restarts, Japan has 11 reactors online with a combined capacity of 10,782 megawatts.

Chubu Electric, a shareholder in Japan’s top utility JERA, posted 202 billion yen net profit in its first quarter, up from 20.5 billion yen a year ago, and raised its full-year net profit guideline by 13 per cent to 260 billion yen on cheaper prices of fuels.

Kansai Electric kept its annual net profit forecast of a record 305 billion yen, citing uncertainty over prices of fuels going forward.

($1 = 139.3200 yen)



Source: Reuters