Iberdrola to invest $88 billion in 'energy revolution' by 2025

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish wind energy group Iberdrola IBE.MC plans to invest 75 billion euros ($88 billion) in its renewable energy production, grids and retail operations by 2025 to capitalise on growing global demand for clean power, it said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: An Iberdrola's power generating wind turbine is seen against cloudy sky at Moranchon wind farm in central Spain December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Countries and companies the world over are seeking to cut emissions to combat climate change, buoying renewables-focused companies including Iberdrola.

Pursuing the opportunities created by the “energy revolution” facing the world’s major economies should help to boost net profit by more than 40% from 2019 to 5 billion euros in 2025, Iberdrola said.

Shares rose throughout morning trade and were up 3.1% on the day at 1300 GMT, outperforming a positive Spanish stock index .IBEX and taking Iberdrola's gains so far this year to around a quarter. It has become Spain's second biggest company after Zara owner Inditex ITX.MC.

For years, renewable companies have struggled to generate big profits, while fossil fuels have provided easier margins, but as COVID-19 lockdowns have hobbled energy use and hammered oil and gas markets, the investment focus has been transformed.

Oil and gas companies, including Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L, BP BP.L and Total TOTF.PA, are moving towards renewable power, but Iberdrola's new spending plan eclipses their combined planned investments in low carbon.

Other utilities are joining Iberdrola in building green capacity and wind energy is set to reach record growth globally over the next five years.

Denmark's Orsted ORSTED.CO is in the midst of a $30 billion investment plan and Italy-based Enel ENEI.MI, the region's leader, has set aside 14.4 billion euros to build renewables capacity and phase out coal between 2020 and 2022.

Iberdrola promises steady earnings for its shareholders.

They will receive between 0.40 and 0.44 euros per share by 2025 as the company sets aside a total of 94 billion euros for both the investment plan and its dividend plan, Iberdrola Chief Financial Officer Jose Sainz said.

The money will mainly come from operations and cash management, but 19% will be from taking on debt, Sainz said.

Half the overall investment will be split between the United States, where it announced last month its local unit Avangrid AGR.N would buy utility PNM Resources PNM.N, and Britain, where it owns Scottish Power.

At home in Spain, spending, mainly on renewables and networks, will more than double to 14.35 billion euros over the life of the plan.

Iberdrola hopes one costly Spanish project, building capacity to produce hydrogen from renewable sources, will get European Union funds as the bloc seeks to emerge from a coronavirus-induced recession by focusing spending on sustainability.

By 2030 Iberdrola aims to increase solar and onshore wind capacity by 2.5 times and offshore wind power by 4.5 times, to reach a total generation portfolio of 95 gigawatts (GW).

Reporting by Isla Binnie, additional reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez; Editing by David Goodman and Barbara Lewis