November 7, 2018 / 7:20 AM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's Snam plans pipeline of dividend, earnings rises

(Recasts lead, adds detail)

By Stephen Jewkes

MILAN, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Italian gas group Snam expects to deliver higher earnings and dividends under a new plan which will see it spend more on its network and new green businesses.

Europe’s biggest gas pipeline operator said on Wednesday it expected net profit to rise by an average of more than 4 percent per year and dividends by 5 percent to 2022.

It said it would invest around 85 percent of its 5.7 billion euro ($6.5 billion) spending programme on its transport network, while earmarking 200 million euros for new green businesses.

The group, controlled by Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, said it would be converting 3.2 billion euros of credit lines into loans that would fund sustainable projects.

Snam, which has said it is ready to play a leading role in integrating Europe’s grids, makes most of its revenue from gas transport and is looking to make Italy a European gas hub.

It is investing heavily in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline which will bring Azeri gas into Italy in 2020 and upgrading connections in the north to boost cross-border flows. ($1 = 0.8737 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Francesca Landini and Alexander Smith)

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