Net earnings at Spanish utility Gas Natural grew by 38% against the previous year, largely thanks to its gas operations in Latin America and its Spanish power business.

Net profit for the three months to June came to E179.1 million, on revenues of E2.3 billion. Net profit for the first six months of 2006 was E455.8 million, a 24% rise on the E367.8 million recorded in H1 2005.

However while analysts praised the results as a sound reflection of Gas Natural’s ongoing operations, they reaffirmed that all eyes are on the Spanish energy regulator to see what decision it takes on the rival Gas Natural and E.ON bids for Endesa.

Both are in limbo at the present time after Endesa lodged a raft of legal injunctions against the unsolicited offers. However Gas Natural has maintained its desire to press ahead with its attempt to buy its compatriot, which has the blessing of the Madrid government, but is lower in value than E.ON’s offer.