ESB Group has reported higher operating profits and revenues for the six months to the end of June as it continued to invest in long term electricity infrastructure.

ESB said its interim operating profits increased to €297m from €287m on the back of a "strong" operational performance.

Its profit after interest and tax rose to €173m from €64.2m.

Revenues for the six month period were also marginally higher - rising to €1.679 billion from €1.631 billion the same time last year.

A dividend of €60m was paid to the State for the six month period, up from the €30m paid the same time last year. 

ESB said that total dividends paid to the Exchequer over the past decade amount to almost €1.5 billion. 

The ESB Group is organised into five main divisions, which are managed separately.

Operating profits at its Generation and Wholesale Markets division was down €24m to €87m as a result of lower energy margin earned in the Single Electricity Market. 

The group said that operating profits at its ESB Networks division rose by €32m to €181m due to higher regulated tariffs. 

Its Northern Ireland Electricity Networks division saw operating profits of €119m, up €4m, due to lower operating costs.

Meanwhile, Electric Ireland reported an operating profit of €46m for the six month period, down €11m due to the impact of its price reduction and lower customer numbers.

Its innovation, corporate centre and the business service centre reported an operating loss of €36m, a €9m improvement on 2016. The company said improvement was due to lower foreign exchange translation losses on sterling positions.

ESB said it invested €303m in energy infrastructure and other investments in the first half of the year as it continued its capital investment programme in long term electricity infrastructure, which will benefit the wider Irish economy.

On Brexit, the company said that the full consequences of the vote in the UK to leave the European Union are
likely to emerge over the next number of years. 

"While this creates uncertainty, ESB will continue with prudent financial management of its UK assets, which
are matched with sterling funding," the company said. 

"ESB will continue to monitor the impacts from Brexit and other worldwide socio-political events and take prudent financial management actions, as appropriate, so as to protect ESB's financial strength," it added.

The company's group finance director Pat Fenlon said that in the face of "intense competition", the results for the first six months of 2017 reflect a strong operating performance across the group. 

"ESB continues to focus on delivering value and investing in critical long term electricity infrastructure for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and the wider Irish economy, and this is enabled by maintaining a strong financial position," he added.