RWE First-Quarter Profit Rises 50% on Increased Power Sales

Utility RWE said Tuesday its first-quarter net profit rose nearly 50% on increased sales from its RWE Power unit and said it expects its net profit for the year to rise 10%.

The Essen-based utility, Germany's biggest electricity producer in terms of generating capacity, earned 1.57 billion euros ($2.13 billion) in the January-March period, compared with 1.05 billion euros a year earlier. That was above the 1.26 billion euros ($1.71 billion) analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted.

Sales rose to 13.36 billion euros ($18.1 billion) in the quarter, compared with 13.24 billion euros a year earlier, because of demand for electricity and demand for natural gas, despite the mild winter in Europe.

Last week, shares of RWE soared after a report said French-controlled power company Electricite de France, or EDF, was considering a takeover bid for the company.

Such a takeover would not be unusual, given the scope of mergers and acquisitions in Europe this year and last year, most notably the failed bid by E.On to acquire Endesa in a 42.2 billion euros ($57.18 billion) deal.

That deal collapsed after Italy's Enel SpA and Spanish construction and energy conglomerate Acciona SA outbid for the company, offering more than 43 billion euros ($58.26 billion).