RWE Gas, the natural gas division of Europe's fourth biggest utility, RWE AG, expects “good earnings” during 2002, helped by cost cuts, the integration of new businesses and also higher sales. Net income rose to 134.5 million euros ($120 million) last year from 37.2 million in 2000, RWE Gas said. Sales almost doubled to 2.1 billion euros and will triple this year after integrating Czech utility Transgas AS, the German company said. “Good earnings means earnings that are on last year's level,” Chief Executive Officer Manfred Scholle said at the company's annual earnings press conference in Dortmund, Germany. Like other European utilities, RWE has been expanding its gas business, expecting that demand for the fuel will spur growth. It agreed to buy Transgas for 4.1 billion euros last year and said that it is looking for more opportunities in East European markets.
Europe is in the middle of an Islamist terrorist offensive that started on September 25th in Paris with the stabbing of four people outside the former Charlie Hebdo headquarters