MARKETS: UP: British Energy

BRITISH ENERGY, the UK's largest electricity generator, said first- half net income rose tenfold to pounds 31m, boosted by better profit in its supply business and lower interest charges. The figures were better than expected and the shares rose 16 per cent.

The company, which wants to diversify, made its first acquisition in the US in June and is said to be in talks to buy London Electricity. Although it declined to comment on this it said that it wants to expand into distribution and supplying small customers. "We see advantages in being vertically integrated," said chief executive Peter Hollins. He said the company would like to have a similar sized portfolio of stations in the US as in the UK.

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