VIENNA, July 27 (Reuters) – Austrian utility Verbund (VERB.VI) said low water supplies and weaker electricity demand hit first-half earnings, although electricity prices were improving and full-year profits should remain stable.
Verbund, which is 51-percent owned by the state, said it still plans to raise 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in a capital hike and this would happen in the fourth quarter at the earliest. The plan has been complicated by government infighting.
Verbund, which generates most of its electricity from hydro power, said net profit for first half fell 42 percent to 210.3 million euros ($271.5 million)
“Of particular detriment to the half-year results was the water supply from rivers, which was well below average,” Verbund said, adding, however, that prices on electricity markets were improving and its second half should be better.
Verbund said it expects a 25 percent fall in full-year operating earnings but stable profits compared with a year earlier. It said its dividend ratio would be 45-50 percent. ($1=.7746 Euro) (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; editing by Simon Jessop)