French state-controlled energy giant EDF said Tuesday it posted a 4.6 percent rise in first-half net profit as higher hydroelectricity and renewables output compensated for nuclear outages. EDF said net profit was 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) while net profit excluding non-recurring items was up 10.3 percent to 2.9 billion euros. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 4.6 percent to 9.1 billion euros, with sales up 8.2 percent to 36.2 billion euros. \"The first half of 2012 was marked by a significant increase in net income excluding non-recurring items of plus 10 percent, which reflected good operating results,\" CEO Henri Proglio said in a statement. \"Higher hydropower and renewable energy output partially offset lower nuclear output due to planned outages and more numerous outage extensions over the period in France,\" he said. The results were above expectations compiled by the group, which had forecast a net profit of 2.6 billion euros on sales of 35.1 billion euros. \"We are doing better than expected because we made an effort on our costs,\" EDF\'s financial director, Thomas Piquemal, told a conference call. He also said EDF was looking to attract new partners to its project to build nuclear reactors in Britain, where it has set up a joint venture with utility group Centrica. \"EDF\'s goal has always been and remains to stay in control of the operations, the project ... but this does not necessarily require us to be at 80 percent,\" Piquemal said. \"This is why we are considering opening a little more capital in these projects, by finding new partners.\" EDF, which is 84 percent owned by the French state and is the world\'s biggest nuclear energy producer, also reiterated its financial targets for 2011-2015 of 4.0-to-6.0-percent annual EBITDA growth and 5.0-to-10-percent annual recurring net profit growth. EDF shares were higher in morning trade on the Paris stock exchange after the results were released, gaining 1.11 percent to 16.78 euros at 0830 GMT.