By Giulia Petroni

Naturgy Energy Group said Monday that net profit jumped in the first half of the year as results were supported by a positive operating performance despite a decrease in energy prices and persistent volatility.

The Spanish utility company said net profit came in at 1.04 billion euros ($1.16 billion) in the period from EUR557 million a year earlier, supported by a strong performance of liberalized activities as well as a strong deleverage.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased to EUR2.85 billion from EUR2.05 billion in the previous year.

Sales were down 28% on year to EUR12.05 billion from EUR16.74 billion, mainly as a result of exceptionally high prices in the previous year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Net debt was reduced to EUR10.75 billion as of June 30 from EUR12.07 billion at the end of 2022, Naturgy said, adding that financial management and capital discipline remained a core focus in the first half due to regulatory uncertainty and volatility.

The first interim dividend for 2023 has been set at EUR0.5 a share, according to the company.

In terms of mid-term targets, Naturgy added that it expects net profit at EUR1.8 billion in 2025, from previous expectations of EUR1.6 billion. Earlier this month, the company revised its Ebitda, capex, net debt and dividend targets for 2025 as part of a strategic review.

Write to Giulia Petroni at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

07-24-23 0616ET