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Centrica, SSE, Ørsted outperform other European peers in December 2019

Of the select European utilities and power producers, 18 companies posted positive returns on their stocks in December 2019, with British utility Centrica PLC recording the biggest gain of 11.3% during the month, followed by U.K.based SSE PLC with a total return of 10.7%, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Those gains come in the wake of British voters delivering a landslide victory to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling Conservative Party, which effectively means plans to renationalize the U.K. utility industry went up in smoke.

Also in December, Centrica entered an electric vehicle technology partnership with Citygate Volkswagen and announced the sale of its 382-MW gas-fired power plant in the U.K. to RWE AG. Meanwhile, SSE set foot in the German onshore wind market for the first time and bought a shovel-ready onshore wind farm project in Ireland, while the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority cleared Ovo Group Ltd's proposed acquisition of SSE's retail energy business.

Danish offshore wind developer Ørsted A/S posted a total of return of 10.2% in the month, as the company inked world's largest offshore wind power contract with Covestro AG for a project in Germany, paid Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore PLC to take over its "loss-making" LNG business, and received funding of 34.6 million Danish kroner for a demonstration project to produce hydrogen from offshore wind power with six industrial partners.

Other select utilities with positive returns in December included Electricité de France SA, National Grid PLC and EDP - Energias do Brasil SA, among others.

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Austria's VERBUND AG, on the other hand, posted the largest negative return of 5.2% within the group for December. During the month, S&P Global Ratings raised the long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured debt ratings of the utility to A from A-.

Verbund was closely followed by Naturgy Energy Group SA, which saw its total return decline by 5.1%.

Shares of Endesa SA and CEZ a. s. also posted negative returns during the month.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.