Austria's Verbund ups full-year profit forecast

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian utility Verbund VERB.VI on Wednesday raised its full-year profit forecast thanks to higher power prices and volumes, lifting its shares to the highest level since October 2009.

The country’s largest energy company said it now expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to reach 950 million euros ($1.1 billion) instead of the 870 million euros it forecast in May.

Net profit will come in at around 370 million euros, 50 million euros more than previously forecast, the company said.

Verbund, which generates its electricity to a large part from hydro power, said water supply in the second quarter was above average, boosting energy production. It also managed to increase earnings from its grid unit.

The group confirmed it plans to pay between 40 and 45 percent of its 2018 net profit as a dividend to its shareholders.

Verbund shares gained as much as 7 percent, making it the top gainer in Austria's blue-chip index .ATX. The stock traded 4.2 percent higher at 32.64 euros at 1100 GMT.

Verbund will release second-quarter results on July 26.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise