MADRID, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Spanish energy giant Iberdrola said on Wednesday it would invest 32 billion euros ($39.4 billion) over the next four years, mostly in networks, renewable energy and power purchase contracts in Mexico.
The utility, which supplies energy to more than 30 million people in countries including Spain, the United States and Britain, hopes to book a net profit of between 3.5 billion and 3.7 billion euros in 2022, it said in a statement.
The forecasts were made as part of a four-year strategy update released the same time as annual earnings, which showed core earnings down 7.8 percent, hurt by a drought in Spain and the depreciation of sterling against the euro.
Hydroelectric production in Spain has plunged because of low rainfall during 2017. The fierce drought on the Iberian peninsula has left rivers dry and devastated crops.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell to 7.32 billion euros at the Basque Country-based company, missing a Reuters polled forecast of 7.7 billion euros.
Net profit rose 3.7 percent to 2.8 billion euros, compared with a Reuters forecast of 2.59 billion euros, buoyed by capital gains from a U.S. tax reform.
The company booked a one-off capital gain of 1.28 billion euros in 2017 from the U.S. tax reform. However, nearly all of this was used as provisions to adjust values of some assets, the company said.
Revenue in Iberdrola’s networks business in Britain, where it owns Scottish Power, fell 7.4 percent on lower demands and margins.
Iberdrola said it recommended a 2017 dividend of 0.32 euros per share. It said its 2022 profit forecast implied a 0.4 euros per share dividend for that year. ($1 = 0.8123 euros) (Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez, Writing by Sonya Dowsett, editing by Louise Heavens; Editing by Paul Day)