E.ON AG posted higher first-half profits and said that their 2009 earnings may drop less than anticipated as the company increased power generation by a fifth after expanding across Europe.

The German utility said earnings adjusted for write downs on assets, and swings in fuel prices increased 4% to €3.46bn.

The figure was up from the €3.14bn estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, sending the shares up 4%.

Revenue at E.ON’s new markets division more than doubled to €3.85bn in the first six months of the year.

Adjusted profit may drop between 5 and 10% this year, compared with an earlier forecast of a 10% decline, the company said in a statement.

Chief executive officer Wulf Bernotat cited a smaller increase in expected interest payments and lower taxes for the improved outlook.

E.ON announced earlier this week that board vice chairman Johannes Teyssen will replace Bernotat in 2010.

The company plans to sell or swap more than €10bn of assets this year and trim debt from expansions in Spain, Poland, Russia and Italy.