February 26, 2020 / 8:37 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Iberdrola racing to deliver record investment target

* 2019 net profit up 13% to 3.41 billion euros

* Sees high single digit profit growth this year

* Working to deliver record 10 bln euro investment plan (Recasts with CEO quotes)

By Isla Binnie

MADRID, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Iberdrola is racing to build wind and solar farms to power millions of homes as part of a record 10 billion euro ($11 billion) investment plan this year, it said on Wednesday.

Alongside other renewables-focused utilities, Iberdrola has been buoyed by ambitious international green energy targets and increasing investor interest in safeguarding the environment to become a stock market favourite.

After posting a 13% net profit increase in 2019 to meet its broad growth target, the company said boosting investments to an annual company record should help deliver high single-digit net profit growth in 2020.

“We have around 100 projects under construction around the world at the moment, there are 9,000 MW (megawatts) being built right now. That is a remarkable figure and a challenge in itself,” Chief Executive Ignacio Galan told Reuters.

The company expects the investments made in 2020 to translate into 4,000 MW of new installed capacity - enough to power about 4 million U.S. homes on average.

It said investments would be distributed in around the same proportion as in 2019, when 41% went to renewable energy and 44% to networks.

“It isn’t a matter of finance, the issue is technical capacity to manage that quantity of projects at once,” Galan said, but “it is not a problem, it is an opportunity. We are running because it is an opportunity.”

Powering more than 30 million homes and businesses in Spain, the United States, Brazil and Britain brought Iberdrola net profit of 3.41 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in 2019.

Based in northern Spain, the company, which owns Avangrid in the United States and Scottish Power in Britain, had forecast double-digit profit growth in 2019.

Iberdrola’s shares have risen around 20% so far this year and were up a further 2.4% as of 1145 GMT.

The company proposed a dividend instalment of 0.232 euros per share, bringing the total payout to 0.40 euros per share.

Net debt rose 10.6% last year to 37.8 billion euros. That was partly due to new accounting standards, and partly due to the large investments undertaken during the year.

$1 = 0.9201 euros Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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