PRAGUE Dec 8 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
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
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)