Oil buoys Fortum

Finnish Energy group Fortum has announced its first half results, citing the recent recovery in the price of crude oil as the main reason for a rise in profits. The company produced a ten per cent rise in its first-half operating profits in spite of weak electricity prices.

Fortum said that the abundant supply of hydroelectric and coal-fired power in Norway and Sweden has put downward pressure on electricity prices, partly offsetting the impact of higher crude prices. In the six months to June 31, 1999, Fortum`s operating profits rose to euro352m ($379m from euro321m for the same period last year.