May 12, 2017 / 11:17 AM / 8 months ago

INTERVIEW-Enel interested in grid network acquisitions, including Brazil -CFO

* Looking for opportunities from liberalisation in Brazil

* CFO says Endesa is not for sale

* No plans to scale back Chile investments

By Stephen Jewkes

MILAN, May 12 (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest utility Enel is not interested in large acquisitions but is looking for opportunities to buy grid networks around the world, including in South America, CFO Alberto De Paoli said on Friday.

Enel, which recently bought Brazilian power distribution company Celg-D, already owns generation and distribution assets in Brazil and is the biggest private energy player in South America.

“We are interested in making more grid acquisitions in Brazil if opportunities arise from market liberalisation,” De Paoli told Reuters in a phone interview after the group’s first quarter results.

Enel is looking to its grids and green power businesses to drive growth, especially in emerging markets and North America.

“In Europe we could be interested in buying small-size renewable energy concerns and retail businesses,” De Paoli said.

Enel, which became Europe’s biggest utility last year when it re-absorbed its green energy unit, controls Spanish utility Endesa.

There have been media reports that investment funds could be interested in buying Endesa, but De Paoli said it was not for sale.

“We are happy with our Spanish investments and have absolutely no plans to sell down our stake,” he said.

In first quarter results on Friday Enel’s core earnings were impacted by lower margins in its Iberian businesses.

De Paoli, who confirmed Enel’s 2018 business targets, said business in Argentina and Brazil was improving and the company intended to continue investing in Latin America.

There has been some media speculation that the group is considering selling down its business in Chile, but De Paoli said that was not the case.

“There are no plans to scale back our investments in Chile,” he said. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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