Dutch energy group Nuon has released a solid set of results for the first quarter, during which the firm continued its program of disposing of non-core assets.

Nuon sold its wind energy activities in China, the announced sale of its interest in water company Vitens and the completion of the sale of US water company Utilities Inc.

Reported net turnover for the first quarter amounted to E1,808 million. Excluding incidental items, net turnover rose 22% to E1,805 million compared to 2005. Prolonging low temperatures in the first quarter of 2006, compared to last year, led to an increase in gas turnover. Electricity turnover in the first quarter of 2006 rose primarily due to price effects following market price increases of fuels and raw materials in 2005.

Operating profit increased to E294 million from E268 million a year earlier. Excluding incidental items, operating profit rose 29% to E291 million. Gas gross margin increased, stemming from a higher average use per customer. Electricity gross margin increased due to a rise in electricity volumes supplied and price increases of fuels and raw materials.

Profit after taxation increased to E205 million from E177 million a year prior. Excluding incidental items, profit after taxation rose 37% to E203 million.

The financial results for the first quarter confirm the good start of the year. The disposal of non-core activities is nearing completion. Taking all these factors into account, Nuon has reached a solid position. We will continue to improve our customer processes and, with the government plans to unbundle the energy companies in mind, focus on strategic alternatives for the future, says Ludo van Halderen, Nuon’s chief executive.