UPDATE 1-Spain's Ferrovial eyes investments as core profit rises

Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:27pm EST

(Adds details, background, comment on British airport acquisitions)

MADRID Feb 25 (Reuters) - Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, the biggest shareholder in Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH), beat core profit expectations for 2013 and said it had the resources to make new investments.

Ferrovial, which has been looking to strengthen its overseas businesses as it moves away from the crisis-hit Spanish construction sector, has offered to buy three British airports from its partners in HAH, a source told Reuters last week.

Chief Executive Inigo Meiras told analysts that he had no comment on these plans.

"There is not a formal process in place," he said after the company reported its results on Tuesday.

Ferrovial said its investments in 2013 had outstripped income from disposals for the first time in five years, and that its cash position, excluding debt attached to projects, had grown 12 percent to 1.66 billion euros ($2.3 billion) compared with the year before.

The group's core profit, or EBITDA - earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - rose 0.8 percent to 934 million euros in 2013, beating the average forecast of 877 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Ferrovial said foreign revenue had grown 18 percent in 2013, and now made up 68 percent of the total. The group's overall revenue rose 7 percent to 8.17 billion euros.

The group made several overseas acquisitions last year, including British maintenance and utility firm Enterprise, and a company specialised in the Chilean mining sector.

Ferrovial's services division - which groups diverse maintenance contracts, including for gas and water networks as well as hospital and road cleaning - grew strongly, with revenue rising 26 percent to 3.6 billion euros.

Revenue from its construction unit fell 6.1 percent to 4 billion euros. Ferrovial's net profit rose 5 percent in 2013 to 727 million euros.

Ferrovial sold a 8.65 percent stake in Heathrow to British pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme last year, taking its HAH holding to 25 percent. The company said it wanted to remain a key shareholder.

"I can confirm that we are long-term investors in Heathrow," Meiras told analysts.

($1 = 0.7282 euros) (Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Sarah White; Editing by Pravin Char)