French power company Engie said on Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Gazprom on its scheme to pay for Russian gas in roubles, and at the same time reported higher first-quarter profits and raised its 2022 financial targets.
Engie shares were up 5.4 percent to 12.26 euros at 0733 GMT taking them to the top of France's CAC 40 Index.
CEO Catherine MacGregor told a call with reporters that Engie and Gazprom have agreed on a solution in line with both companies' expectations in terms of currencies and with European sanctions.
Engie declined to comment on whether this meant the utility had opened, or planned to open, an account with Gazprombank.
MacGregor told reporters during the call that the next payments were "imminent".
The European Commission shared updated guidance with EU countries on Friday.
It confirmed previous advice that EU sanctions do not prevent companies from opening an account at a designated bank, and companies can pay for Russian gas — as long as they do so in the currency agreed in their existing contracts and declare the transaction completed when that currency is paid.
The energy group said in a statement that it has taken multiple actions to improve security of supply, including increasing volumes with existing suppliers and contracts with new suppliers, as well as adapting its hedging actions.
Engie said it has reduced its direct exposure to Gazprom from a maximum of 15 terawatt hours (TWh) to just under 5 TWh at the end of March.
In the context of rising power prices, which have increased following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it upgraded its 2022 financial guidance, saying it expects 2022 group share net recurring income of 3.8-4.4 billion euros ($3.97-$4.59 billion), versus a previous target of 3.1-3.3 billion euros.
Engie's revenue for the first quarter ending March 31 rose 85% from a year ago to 25.6 billion euros, while its earnings before interest (EBIT) grew 74% to 3.5 billion euros.
Analysts at JP Morgan said the first-quarter results were very strong.
"We believe that the company is very well on track to deliver: this will ultimately depend on a number of factors including power prices evolution and the evolution of Russia/Ukraine situation", they said in a note.