Austrian electricity group Verbund's H1 operating profit increased to E426.5 million, up some 71.6% on the prior-year period, while profits after taxes rose to E337.6 million, a 64.7% rise on last year's first half.

Verbund will doubtless be hoping that the positive results deflect some of the attention away from the recent collapse of merger talks with its local rival, the oil firm OMV.

The company said that its positive earnings trend was not adversely influenced by the negative effects of a temporary drop in wholesale prices for electricity, in part driven by an abundance of rain and snow last winter, making the firm’s sizeable hydroelectric assets more valuable still.

Verbund is predicting operating profits for the full year up to 40% better than last year, it said in a statement.