French auto group Renault reported a profit plunge on Friday owing to charges for halting its activities in Iran and for restructuring in France. The group reported a net profit for the first six months of the year of 39 million euros ($52 million) compared with 746 million euros at the same time last year. The exceptional charges helped to push the operating result to a loss of 249 million euros from a profit of 519 million euros last time. The price of shares in the group rose by 3.70 percent to 61.89 euros despite the profit drop because the board stood by its outlook for the year, market sources said. The overall French market as measured by the CAC 40 index was up 1.0 percent. Sales fell by 2.4 percent to 20.4 billion euros, the group said in a statement, but it stood by its outlook for the full year despite what it termed a \"tougher environment than expected.\" The company took a charge this year of 512 million euros for its activities in Iran which have been hit by a hardening since July 1 of international sanctions which now include the auto sector. Finance director Dominique Thormann told a press conference that \"there is an effective halt to activity\" in this country. Renault is the second-biggest French auto group after struggling PSA Peugeot Citroen which early last year interrupted its activities in Iran.