Nordic power firm Fortum has reported a 7.5% decrease in net profit for Q3 2006 compared to the same period last year, despite an increase in sales.

Fortum posted Q3 2006 net profit of E160 million, down 7.5% on the Q2 2005 figure of E173 million. This came despite encouraging sales growth, which saw Q3 2006 sales reach E946 million, up from E774 million in the third quarter of 2005.

Fortum said that its operating profit was negatively affected by costs and provisions related to the implementation of a new customer and billing system in Sweden, which has had an impact on the company’s distribution and markets segments.

The company also pointed out that, in July to September, the average spot price of electricity in Nord Pool was E59.8, 101% higher than during the corresponding period in 2005.

The comparable operating profit of Fortum’s power generation segment was E34 million higher than last year, despite the negative effect from increased taxes on nuclear capacity and hydro property.

As one of the co-owned Swedish reactors, Oskarshamn 1, is expected to be down until the end of the year, and as Nordic hydro reservoirs still are at relatively low levels, Fortum expects its hydro and nuclear generation volumes for the rest of 2006 to be lower than normal. However, the company said in a statement that it believes itself to be well positioned for the remainder of 2006 and for 2007.