UPDATE 2-Acciona prepares to take foreign energy partner after first loss

Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:07am EST

* Full-year net loss 1.97 bln euros after writedowns

* Energy reform wipes 1.68 bln euros off renewable assets

* Puts 49 pct of international renewables business up for sale

* Shares up 4.7 percent, reversing declines (Recasts, adds details on asset sale)

By Tracy Rucinski and Jose Elías Rodríguez

MADRID, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Spain's Acciona has received multiple offers for a stake in its foreign renewables business, the company said on Thursday after cuts to green energy subsidies sent the group to a full-year net loss for the first time.

The infrastructure and renewable energy company, which has already issued bonds, scrapped a dividend and sold wind farms after government power reforms, was forced to take a 1.68 billion euro writedown in 2013 results posted on Thursday and confirmed it is seeking a partner to buy 49 percent of its renewables operation outside Spain.

"In these circumstances Acciona has no choice but to reinvent itself," Chairman Jose Manuel Entrecanales said on a conference call.

The international renewables assets, with annual revenue of about 500 million euros from 2,273 megawatts of capacity across 15 countries and 1.4 billion euros of debt, will be removed from consolidated accounts from 2014.

Acciona has received a number of non-binding offers from international infrastructure and investment funds and is now starting due diligence, senior executive director Juan Muro said on the conference call.

Muro gave gave no indication of the size of the offers, though analysts have said that a standard valuation would be about 1 million euros per megawatt of capacity.

Proceeds from the sale would be used to cut debt, which reached 6.7 billion euros in 2013, the company said.

Lazard has been hired for the sale, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Shares in Acciona, which have fallen 26 percent over the past year because of regulatory uncertainty, rose 4.7 percent on the sale news, reversing a heavy opening fall.

Spanish government cuts to renewables subsidies have been particularly harsh on mature wind power assets such as those owned by Acciona, which made a 189 million euro profit in 2012.

The company said that new regulation had a direct negative impact of 257 million euros on 2013 accounts and wiped 1.68 billion euros off the value of its renewable energy assets, sending it to a full-year net loss of 1.97 billion euros.

The reforms have infuriated both traditional and renewable energy groups. Iberdrola, which combines a range of old and new power-generation methods, has said it will stop investing in Spain because the regulatory framework is no longer stable.

CLEAROUT

Among its restructuring, Acciona plans to group together other business units to allow infrastructure and water divisions, for example, to bid jointly for international projects.

Acciona, primarily a builder before diversifying into energy, has also seen Spain's economic downturn take its toll on the construction division, prompting the company to try to strengthen its water treatment operations.

In addition to impairment charges on the energy division, Acciona wrote off 288 million euros on its infrastructure arm, 100 million euros on its property business and 160 million euros on its Trasmediterranea shipping fleet.

"They're cleaning out everything, but the key will be how they value the energy assets and what steps they're going to take, such as disposals," Intermoney analyst Alvaro Navarro said.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 14.1 percent year on year to 1.23 billion euros, mainly because of the decline of its energy division, which accounts for 80 percent of the total.

The company said it expects Spanish energy reforms to deliver a recurring annual hit of about 400 million euros on EBITDA.

Other European energy companies have also been hit by the impact on prices of a subsidised boom in solar and wind energy that led to overcapacity at a time when demand has been depressed by the economic crisis and energy efficiency measures.

French gas and power group GDF Suez booked a 14.9 billion euro writedown in 2013 results on Thursday. ($1 = 0.7317 euros) (Editing by David Goodman)

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