jueves, febrero 22, 2007

Iberdrola Quarterly Profit Rises 6.5% on Wind Power

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Iberdrola SA, the Spanish utility that's buying Scottish Power Plc, said fourth-quarter profit rose 6.5 percent on higher electricity production from wind and water.
Net income at Spain's second-largest power company climbed to 424 million euros ($558 million) from 398 million euros a year earlier, Bilbao-based Iberdrola said in a filing. Water-driven generation trebled.
``The rise in hydropower production is the natural result of a rainy fourth quarter, and the growth in the number of wind parks is bearing fruit,'' said Pedro Real De Asua, who helps manage the equivalent of $8.4 billion for Barclays Fondos in Madrid.
Chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan plans to build more wind-energy parks in Europe, the U.S. and China and acquire the U.K.'s Scottish Power for 11.7 billion pounds ($23 billion) to preserve Iberdrola's position as the world's largest wind-energy producer.
Galan's agreed bid for the Glasgow-based utility will give Iberdrola a foothold in Britain and increase renewable, state- subsidized, power production. The takeover is scheduled to be completed in April.
The acquisition will boost Iberdrola's renewable-power capacity by almost a half and give it about 5.2 million customers and 6,200 megawatts of generation capacity in Britain. The two have a total combined installed capacity of about 36,000 megawatts, enough to light about 72 million European homes.
Iberdrola may sell some assets after buying Scottish Power, provided the transaction is approved by regulators and shareholders, Galan told journalists today in Madrid. A new strategic plan will be released in the fourth quarter, he said.
Renewable Energy Output
Shares in Iberdrola fell 0.6 percent to 34.68 euros in Madrid. The 34-member Dow Jones Utilities Index fell 1.1 percent today.
In Latin America, where Iberdrola produces about a quarter of its power, output rose after it started a natural-gas-fed plant. The 1,121-megawatt unit, Mexico's largest, helped increase Latin- American power output 45 percent in the fourth quarter.
Last year, Iberdrola raised its worldwide capacity to produce renewable power 16 percent to 4,434 megawatts. It bought three wind-park developers in the U.S. to help it reach a target of 10,000 megawatts-worth of renewable power plants by 2011.
The utility generated 31 percent of its electricity from wind and water in the fourth quarter, up from 19 percent a year earlier. It plans to boost capacity of Spanish hydropower plants through 2011.
Fenosa Speculation
Yesterday, Iberdrola's board called a shareholder meeting for March 29 to approve creating new shares worth as much as 8.63 billion euros to help finance the purchase of Scottish Power. The Spanish utility expects to carry out a 4-for-1 share split after the takeover is complete.
Analysts and investors have speculated that Iberdrola may merge with Union Fenosa SA, Spain's third-largest power company, after that utility's largest shareholder bought a 10 percent stake in Iberdrola.
Such a merger ``can't be done under the law as it now stands in Spain,'' Galan told analysts in a Webcast today. Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, Spain's largest builder and Iberdrola's biggest investor, owns 40.5 percent of Fenosa and controls half of that utility's board.
For the full year, Iberdrola's net income was 1.66 billion euros, 20 percent higher than 2005. Analysts expected 1.68 billion euros.
Fourth-quarter profit of 440 million euros was expected, according to a Bloomberg News survey of five analysts. Quarterly net was calculated by subtracting nine-month earnings from full- year figures released by Iberdrola today.
Quarterly earnings before interest and tax rose 6.3 percent to 658 million euros.

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