Belgian electricity group Electrabel, an arm of Suez, has seen its first half turnover reach E7.08 billion, an increase of E935 million from the equivalent period a year earlier.

The company said it saw organic growth in turnover of 16.1%, but it was also forced to pass on gas price rises totaling E264 million to end users.

The increase in electricity sales (of 7.6%) primarily attributed to the general rise in market prices observed since second quarter 2005 following the rise in fossil fuel prices, and the increase in volumes sold outside the Benelux.

In Belgium, the sales volume decreased by 2.3%. The increase of volumes sold in the business segment (industry and resellers) is more than compensated by a fall in sales on the wholesale market. The corresponding turnover figure increases by 7.7%, due to the increase of prices. In the Netherlands, the quantities of power sold stayed stable.

Outside the Benelux, there was double digit growth in electricity sales – both in value and in volume – on almost all markets. This growth is a result of the combined effects of commercial success, the start-up or restarting of generating facilities in Italy and the rise in prices. As a result, the group now makes more than one third of its sales outside its domestic market, the Benelux, both in value and in volume.

Electrabel said that not counting the higher gas prices passed on to end customers, the organic growth in the ‘gas’ turnover amounted to E147 million or 11.3%. Besides the increase of the sales on the wholesale market, these increases were mainly due to the colder weather conditions in 2006 than in 2005. This effect is attenuated by the loss of market share in Belgium, the company said.