Iberdrola Profit Beats Expectations as Pound Boosts U.K. Profit

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Iberdrola SA, Spain’s largest electricity company, reported first-quarter profit that exceeded analyst estimates as a weaker euro boosted earnings from the U.K., its second-biggest market.

Net income fell 12 percent 840.8 million euros ($922 million) from a year earlier, beating the 810.8 million-euro average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Under new accounting rules, which change the date that liabilities are recorded, profit in the year-earlier period was revised down to 847 million euros, from 952.6 million euros, the Bilbao-based utility said Wednesday in a statement.

The new rules won’t affect the company’s annual results, Chief Financial Officer Jose Sainz said on a conference call.

Iberdrola is pursuing acquisitions, including the $3 billion purchase of UIL Holdings Corp. in the U.S., to reduce dependence on Spain. Hydropower output in its home market slumped 36 percent in the quarter after “extraordinary rain falls” boosted production in the year-earlier period, it said. Gains by the pound and the dollar against the euro translated to increased profit from the U.K. and the U.S., according to the company.

Iberdrola shares climbed 0.6 percent to 6.15 euros as of 9:50 a.m. in Madrid, bringing this year’s gain to 10 percent.

Sales dropped 5.5 percent in the quarter to 8.8 billion euros from a year earlier. Financial net debt rose to 26.3 billion euros by March 31, from 25.6 billion euros three months earlier, according to the filing.

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