German utility EON, the parent of Midlands electricity network operator Central Networks, has increased first half operating profit by seven per cent.
The rise was driven by strength in power and gas prices, but slightly missed analysts' forecasts.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), Eon's main earnings measure, rose to £2.98 billion from £2.77 billion a year earlier, the company said yesteday.
Net profit for the first half rose seven per cent to £2.08 billion, despite the yearearlier figures including more than £347.2 million of gains from asset disposals, beating analysts ' forecast of £1.8 billion.
Eon reiterated it expects full-year EBIT to surpass that of 2004 while net income would considerably exceed it.
The utility upgraded its net income forecast in May following the sales of its property arm Viterra.
Eon has reaped the benefit of rising electricity prices, which have outweighed increases in input costs such as gas and hard coal. Eon, through Ruhrgas, is also involved in the import, storage and distribution of natural gas.
Gas demand has partly risen because of cold weather, and gas prices have also climbed because of rising oil prices.
Yesterday, Central Networks, formed by last year's merger of Midlands Electricity and East Midlands Electricity, unveiled a £40 million development plant for the east side of Birmingham.
It is to get a completely new electricity supply network which will take nearly ten years to complete.
The scheme will be the first major infrastructure replacement project to be carried out by Central Networks, which has approval to invest a total of £1.2 billion in new infrastructure across the Midlands.