PRAGUE, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Acquisitive Czech power group EPH, one of central Europe’s biggest energy firms, saw its profit slip in the first half of the year despite increasing sales.
EPH has been snapping up coal, gas and nuclear power assets in recent years, betting they will remain strong energy sources and pay off once electricity prices rise from lows.
It bought Vattenfall’s lignite plants in Germany this year and sold a 30 percent stake in its EP Infrastructure unit to a group of investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.
On Thursday the company posted a slight drop in first-half adjusted core profit (EBITDA) to 799 million euros from 834 million in the same period a year ago, while its sales rose to 2.37 billion euros in the first half, up from 2.10 billion.
EPH said in a statement its net attributable profit fell to 75 million euros, from 98 million a year ago.
Before signing the deal with Macquarie, EPH had scrapped earlier plans for an initial public offering for its infrastructure unit, which it carved out for businesses that have long-term contracts and stable profits such as gas and power distributors, gas storage and transmission, and heating.
The infrastructure unit includes EPH’s 49 percent stake in Slovak gas pipeline operator Eustream, which delivers Russian natural gas via Ukraine to the European Union and European gas to Ukraine.
The unit is separate from EPH’s power generation group that has bought coal-fired plants in Britain and Italy. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Alexander Smith)