* Core profit rose 7.6 pct last year on Arctic Russia sale
* EBITDA in line with consensus after one-offs
* Net debt below 40 billion euros
(Recasts lead, adds analyst comment, background)
MILAN, Feb 4 Italy's biggest utility Enel
posted a 7.6 percent rise in core earnings for 2013,
boosted by the sale of assets as business in main markets
continued to struggle.
Full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) were 17 billion euros ($22.98 billion), a
statement from Enel said, compared with a Thomson Reuters
I/B/E/S consensus of 16.1 billion euros.
A one-off $1.8 billion gain from the sale of Arctic Russia
last year boosted the profits figure.
"Stripping out the one-offs the results are bang in line
with market expectations," a London-based analyst said.
Enel said the fall in core earnings, excluding one-offs, was
due to the weak performance in Spain and Italy where it usually
generates about half of its total production.
Enel, which owns 92 percent of Spanish utility Endesa
, did not give a geographical breakdown of the
The economic crisis continues to take its toll on utilities
in Europe as falling power demand, weaker electricity prices and
increased competition from renewable energy sources squeeze
Enel, one of Europe's most indebted utilities, said its net
debt at the end of 2013 stood at 39.9 billion euros from 42.9
billion euros a year earlier.
The state-controlled utility had targeted debt of 42 billion
euros at the end of the year. But its CEO Fulvio Conti said at
the end of last year debt could come down to 40 billion euros.
The group is aiming to make disposals worth 6 billion euros
in the period 2013-2014. To date it has sold about 1.7 billion
($1 = 0.7397 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Louise Ireland)