October 24, 2018 / 7:12 AM / a year ago

Iberdrola posts nine-month core profit jump, confirms 2018 guidance

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Spanish power company Iberdrola on top of its main office building in Madrid, October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Iberdrola (IBE.MC) stuck to its 2018 guidance on Wednesday after a 22.5 percent jump in core profit in the first nine months, boosted by its Brazilian business, recovering hydropower output in Spain and new renewable assets.

The supplier of energy to more than 30 million people in countries including Spain, the United States and Britain said it still expects core earnings to pass 9 billion euros ($10.3 billion) this year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 6.72 billion euros in the nine months to Sept. 30.

Under the reiterated guidance, net profit is expected to reach 3 billion euros with dividends increasing in line with rising income. The company said on Tuesday that it would raise its interim dividend by 7 percent to 0.15 euros per share.

Net profit fell 13.5 percent to 2.091 billion because of an unfavourable comparison with last year, when it received a dividend from the merger of wind power business Gamesa - of which it owned almost 20 percent - with the wind division of Germany’s Siemens (SGREN.MC).

As part of a drive to focus on renewable assets and cut debt, Iberdrola sold its Scottish gas, hydro and pumped storage power plants to Britain’s Drax (DRX.L) last week.

In the Spanish company’s domestic market, concern has been growing over plans being hatched by the young Socialist government to limit profits on hydro and nuclear power generation, a prospect analysts say could weigh on Iberdrola shares for some months to come.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by David Goodman

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