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RWE books jump in profits despite poor trading in UK

RWE, Europe&rsquo;s fifth-largest utility, yesterday met forecasts with a 3.8 per cent rise in first-half operating profit, as lucrative power sales made up for a weak performance at its UK subsidiary NPower.<br /><br />The German power giant said it made an operating profit of &euro;4.1bn (&pound;3.5bn) in the six months to June.<br /><br />Earnings, which had been adjusted for the fluctuation in fuel prices, hit &euro;2.23bn, up from &euro;2.12bn in the same period the previous year. <br /><br />Ingo Becker, analyst at Kepler Capital Markets, said the German utility&rsquo;s first-half &ldquo;earnings are only so-so as the company benefited from its volatile energy trading unit.&rdquo;<br /><br />But the company&rsquo;s oil and natural gas unit said potential delays at its fields may lead to it missing its target of doubling production by 2013.<br /><br />The firm, which has a 15 per cent share of the British energy market said it was implementing a cost-cutting programme worth &euro;120m to offset the cost of a new British directive which says energy firms must spend &euro;100 must spend on promoting energy efficiency in homes.