Enel shrugs off windfall tax impact to confirm 2022 forecast

A logo of Italian multinational energy company Enel is seen in Milan
FILE PHOTO-A logo of Italian multinational energy company Enel is seen at the Milan's headquarter, Italy, February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

MILAN, May 4 (Reuters) - Enel (ENEI.MI) stuck to its full-year forecast on Wednesday, shrugging off the impact of measures adopted in Italy and Spain to claw back profits made by energy companies from gas price spikes.

European gas prices soared to record highs last year and have stayed high due to concerns over supply disruptions after Russia - Europe's top gas supplier - invaded Ukraine in February.

Some countries have introduced measures to tax energy companies deemed to have benefited excessively from higher gas prices, drawing criticism from utilities.

"(The measures) have had a negligible impact so far on our numbers as we had already sold forward the energy before to our customers at a reasonable price with no extra profits," Enel Chief Financial Officer Alberto De Paoli said during a call to discuss first-quarter results.

Earlier this week, the Italian government said it would raise its windfall tax on energy companies to 25% from 10% to help fund a package to shield firms and families from surging energy costs as the war in Ukraine escalates. read more

De Paoli said he estimated an impact on core earnings of around 100 million euros for the year from the measures in Italy, adding the group was still assessing Spain's gas price cap.

But he said price cap rules and new distribution tariffs in Romania were "severely affecting" results there, adding that discussions were underway with the government.

"It makes little sense to invest in an excessively punitive environment," De Paoli said when asked if regulation in Romania could affect the group's presence in the country.

The company maintained its forecast for ordinary EBITDA of between 19 billion euros and 19.6 billion euros for this year.

Ordinary core earnings in the first three months rose 6.8% to 4.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion), lifted by new green capacity which offset weak hydroelectric results due to low rainfall.

The world's biggest private renewable energy group has 55 gigawatts of green capacity after adding 5.6 GW in the last year. De Paoli said it would add another 6 GW this year.

Enel, which controls Spanish utility Endesa (ELE.MC), is counting on green power and networks to drive growth as it looks to have a fully green power generation portfolio by 2040.

De Paoli said investors had shown interest in some of the group's assets, including distribution, in Latin America, but he denied there was any sales process under way for its CELG unit in Brazil.

He confirmed the group did not plan any growth investments in Russia where Enel is exploring ways to exit the country.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia, Elaine Hardcastle and Bill Berkrot

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