The UK's largest power producer, British Energy, has reported a net profit of GBP189 million for the first six months of the year, a more than fourfold increase over its performance in the first half of the previous fiscal year.

The nuclear power specialist delivered a pre-tax and considerations income of GBP481 million, which was more than double the GBP212 million achieved in H1 last year.

However, while adjusted earnings per share increased impressively from 3.5 pence to 14.5 pence, shareholders are likely to be disappointed with the return as they fell below analyst expectations. According to Bloomberg, the power producer had been expected to top GBP500 million for its pre-tax earnings.

The below forecast performance comes on the back of recent revelations about the relative poor state of British Energy’s nuclear facilities, which has resulted in reduced capacity and, in turn, caused the company’s share price to fall. In fact, reports suggest that the disappointing generation performance has led to the departure of the company’s chief nuclear officer Roy Anderson.

Bill Coley, British Energy CEO, said: Whilst output has been disappointing in the year to date, the first six months of the year 2006/07 have shown an improvement in financial performance compared to the first half last year largely due to higher achieved electricity prices. We remain focused on our strategy to improve the long term reliability and output of our power stations and are encouraged with certain areas of performance improvement.