July 25, 2018 / 7:03 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Spain's Iberdrola H1 core earnings jump 17 pct

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MADRID, July 25 (Reuters) - Spanish energy giant Iberdrola reported a 17 percent rise in core earnings in the first half of the year on Wednesday, boosted by its Brazilian business and higher hydropower production in Spain after last year’s drought.

Supplying energy to more than 30 million people in countries including Spain, the United States and Britain, Iberdrola raked in 4.44 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in January-June.

But reported net profit fell 7.1 percent to 1.41 billion due to an unfavourable comparison with last year, when it received a dividend from the merger of wind-power business Gamesa , in which it held an almost 20 percent stake, with the wind division of Germany’s Siemens.

The company reiterated full-year forecasts made in April by Chairman Ignacio Galan, who said he expected core earnings to rise more than 20 percent to over 9 billion euros, net profit to reach 3 billion euros, and dividends to increase in line with rising income.

Iberdrola’s renewable energy businesses performed well in the first half and core earnings at Brazilian unit Neoenergia, which has been fully consolidated into Iberdrola since the second half of last year, rose 43 percent.

Its liberalised power business relies heavily on hydroelectric production in Spain, which was painfully squeezed last year by one of southern Europe’s worst droughts in decades.

Looking ahead to the rest of this year, Iberdrola said better hydropower production and greater reserves would boost its returns. ($1 = 0.8558 euros) (Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Isla Binnie; Editing by Paul Day and Keith Weir)

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