BUCHAREST, July 3 (Reuters) - Romanian state-owned power grid operator Transelectrica plans to invest 5.3 billion lei ($1.65 billion) to upgrade its power lines by 2023, it said on Thursday.
The company aims to expand interconnection projects with neighbouring Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Moldova, as well as strengthen its network in southeastern Romania, where most renewable energy projects are located.
Transelectrica recorded a net profit of 136.5 million lei in the first quarter, up 49 percent on the year, driven by higher revenues and market deregulation.
Under an aid deal led by the International Monetary Fund, Romania is deregulating its energy markets in stages for industrial users and households by 2017 for the power sector and 2018 for gas. ($1 = 3.2132 Romanian lei) (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Radu Marinas)