MILAN — Italian oil and gas company Eni says its second quarter earnings rose 21 percent to 275 million euros ($365 million), but business remained under pressure as weak demand, particularly in its home market, caused a continued drop in sales.

Net sales dropped 6.5 percent to 28 million from 30 billion euros.

Profit for the first six months of the year dropped by half to 1.8 billion euros from 3.8 billion euros due to a weak market as well as production interruptions in Libya and Nigeria.

CEO Paolo Scaroni said in a statement Thursday he expected an improvement in the second half of the year thanks to new production and renegotiated contracts with partners Sonatrach and Gazprom. He said he would recommend an interim dividend of 0.55 euros a share.