National Grid has posted a forecast-beating 11 per cent rise in first-half profits and promised to raise its annual dividend by seven per cent after pruning costs in the business.
Britain's largest power network operator, which employs around 1,500 people at its headquarters at Warwick Business Park, returned £2 billion to shareholders after making a £2.5 billion profit on selling four of its eight UK gas distribution businesses.
It said a contribution from newly acquired telecoms mast business Crown Castle boosted half-year gains.
National Grid said that although energy prices on US wholesale markets and delays in passing the extra costs to customers were a factor, these should be recovered by the end of the year.
Despite the US problems, not least a weak dollar, the acquisitive group said it was still keen to expand further in the United States.
But the firm, targeting an annual investment spend of £2 billion, refused to say if Northeast Utilities was in the frame.
Pretax profit for the six months to September 30 rose to £ 776 million against £697 million a year ago.
Turnover rose by seven per cent from £493 million to £528 million.
In Britain, National Grid said it had done well improving efficiencies at its four remaining UK gas distribution units, where operating profit for the half-year climbed 21 per cent to £94 million.
UK operations manager Steve Holliday said: "We've been running these as one and that's enabled us to rationalise a lot of property and centralise the vast majority of administrative and engineering centres into a couple of major centres."