EDP's nine-month profit down slightly but beats forecast

LISBON Tue Nov 6, 2012 12:49pm EST

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's largest company, EDP Energias de Portugal (EDP.LS), posted a 3.5 percent drop in 9-month net profit on Tuesday, beating expectations but hurt by rising debt costs and lower power use in recession-hit Portugal and Spain.

The company said net profit fell to 795 million euros, above an average forecast of 775 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) stood at 2.74 billion euros, above the market consensus of 2.72 billion euros.

EDP said net interest costs rose 7 percent to 520 million euros from last year while net debt rose by 1.3 billion euros to 18.2 billion euros.

Demand for the company's power in Spain and Portugal fell 1.1 percent as the two economies stagnated. The company was also hit by worse performance at its Brazilian unit, where net profit fell 34 percent to 508 million euros, on the back of higher electricity generation costs.

The green renewables sector boosted results. EDP Renewables, the wind unit of EDP, on Tuesday reported a 48 percent rise in nine-month net profit on rising power generation and higher average prices.

Portugal's state sold a 21 percent stake in EDP to China Three Gorges this year, making the Chinese company EDP's single, largest shareholder.

Shares in EDP closed 0.64 percent lower at 2.030 euros per share ahead of the results.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves and Axel Bugge; editing by Patrick Graham)

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