March 1, 2013 / 2:51 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Spain's Acciona cuts dividend, capex to ease reform costs

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* Acciona studying legal action against energy reforms

* Sees 160-170 million euro pretax hit

* Plans to cut dividend by 20 percent in 2013, 2014

* Shares fall 3.1 percent (Adds details, background, comment and shares)

MADRID, March 1 (Reuters) - Spanish building and energy firm Acciona is cutting investment and dividends because of energy sector reforms it estimates will wipe about 165 million euros ($216 million) from annual pretax earnings.

"We believe (the measures) are a major breach of investor confidence with a massive impact on our profit and loss," an Acciona executive said on a conference call on Friday.

Government measures such as a power generation tax and subsidy cuts designed to mend a deficit in the utility sector have a significant impact on renewable energy firms like Acciona, which said it was studying legal action.

Spanish thermosolar company Abengoa has also threatened legal action though Spanish firms are considered to have little recourse because the laws were passed as decrees.

Foreign investors may have a better chance of compensation through an international energy treaty that protects their interests.

Acciona said it will cut its dividend by 20 percent this year and next, scale back investment to about 600 million euros and sell up to 1 billion euros of assets, including a small stake in its energy business.

The company is targeting flat growth in net profit and underlying earnings this year, it said, after posting a 6 percent year-on-year fall in net profit to 189 million euros in 2012.

Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 9 percent to 1.43 billion euros thanks to a strong contribution from its energy arm.

By 1430 GMT, Acciona's shares were down 3.1 percent at 45.58 euros, underperforming an 0.8 percent fall on Spain's blue chip index. ($1 = 0.7649 euros) (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and David Cowell)

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