International Power, Europe's biggest independent power producer, has said that first quarter profits rose by a greater than expected thirty one percent as the company built more power stations, countering the “weak” US prices. Net income rose to 51 million pounds ($74.4 million), or 4.4 pence a share, from 39 million pounds, or 3.4 p a share, in the year earlier period, said Chief Executive Officer Peter Giller in an interview. Profit was seen rising to forty four million pounds, according to four analysts polled by one news agency. “Their earnings guidance for the full year was for fourteen pence of earnings in 2002, it is looking increasingly likely they are going to exceed that,” said Philip Hollobone, an analyst at SG Securities. International Power, which has power plants in over thirteen countries, is building more stations to light two million homes in Europe, North America and the Middle East as it seeks to meet its target of twenty five percent earnings growth this year.