Iberdrola sees higher profits on international expansion

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Spanish power group Iberdrola reported on Thursday that first-quarter net profits rose 10.1 percent to 1.015 billion euros ($1.644 billion) driven by international expansion and a strong performance from its renewable energy arm.

Sales grew 10.4 percent to 8.48 billion euros and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) -- a key measure of profitability -- rose 4.4 percent to 2.27 billion euros.

Renewable energy, in which it is a world leader due to its strong position in wind power, accounted for 19.9 percent of EBITDA.

That was up 9.3 percent from the same period last year due largely to surge of 47.9 percent in production in the United States and 23 percent in Britain.

The "record quarterly result" was "made possible by international activity, a strategy that has succeeded in smoothing performance fluctuations in different business areas, as well as by a 13 percent efficiency gain brought about by a new organisational structure, and by a 24 percent reduction in financing costs," it said.

In January, Iberdrola acquired Brazilian energy company Elektro from Britain's Ashmore Energy International for $2.4 billion.

In March, it announced it would absorb its renewable energy arm, Iberdrola Renovables, in which it already holds 80 percent.

It also revealed that Qatari investment fund Qatar Holding would buy a 6.16 percent stake in the group for 2.2 billion euros.

The group posted net profits for 2010 of 2.87 billion euros, up 1.7 percent.

At the time, it said it plans investments of 4.8 billion euros in Britain and 7.0 billion euros in the United States by 2012.

© 2011 AFP

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