HELSINKI, April 29 Finnish utility Fortum on Tuesday reported a 9-percent decline in first-quarter core operating profit due to mild winter and low electricity prices in the Nordic countries.
Fortum, controlled by the state of Finland, said its comparable operating profit was 477 million euros ($660 million), down from 524 million a year ago, but topping analysts' average expectation of 459 million euros.
The company, which has an extensive investment programme in Russia, repeated that it was still targeting annual operating profit of 500 million euros from the country from 2015 onwards, despite the market's weakened economic situation.
Fortum also said it was still evaluating the possible divestment of its Swedish electricity distribution business, which would follow its earlier grid sale deals in Finland and Norway.
($1 = 0.7223 Euros) (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl)