French utility EDF Group said it is expecting financial growth this year as international expansion adds to earnings and nuclear plants at home boost output.

In its annual financial results, the firm has recorded a $3.9bn net income, a 12% increase over 2009 figures.

In 2009, EDF acquired British Energy, partnered with Centrica in UK, took a majority stake in Belgian energy operator SPE and acquired almost half of Constellation Energy’s nuclear business in the US.

The firm’s UK business reported an EBITDA of €3.1bn driven by excellent performance of British Energy, which recorded a 36% increase in nuclear generation to 54.5 Twh, according to the company release.

Nuclear generation in 2009 went down to 390 TWh from 418 TWh in 2008 due to strikes and storms, while the utility operated its plants at an availability rate of 78% over the year, compared with 79.2% in 2008.

The utility with net financial debt of €42.5bn in the year, intends to decide on the possible divestment of its UK power grid in March or April 2010.

EDF said it aims for significant growth in EBITDA this year, driven by organic growth of 3 to 5% and the full 12-month effect in 2010 of the international acquisitions carried out toward the end of 2009.