November 9, 2017 / 9:15 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Enel sticks to guidance as 9-month earnings fall

(Recasts, adds CEO comment, shares)

MILAN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest utility, Enel , left its full-year targets unchanged after core earnings in the first nine months fell on weaker production in Iberia due to drought conditions.

The state-controlled company, which holds a majority stake in Spanish utility Endesa, said ordinary earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 4.7 percent to 11.3 billion euros, in line with expectations.

The company, which is targeting core earnings this year of 15.5 billion euros, said it expected EBITDA growth to accelerate further in the final quarter.

“Our geographical diversification and the contribution of investments in growth have enabled us to manage the ongoing global shortage of hydro and wind resources,” CEO Francesco Starace said.

As traditional power generation comes under pressure, Enel is focusing on grids and clean energy to boost growth, especially in emerging markets.

It has said it is interested in making acquisitions in the power distribution sector but rules out any big M&A deal.

It will release its new business plan on November 21.

Italy’s biggest company bumped up its interim dividend by 16.7 percent and said it would pay a full-year dividend of 0.23 euros per share compared to last year’s 0.18 euros.

The dividend was in line with a target given last year of paying out 65 percent of profits.

At 0855 GMT Enel shares were up 0.3 percent while the European utility index was down 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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